Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in Meghalaya, Bernard N Marak was on Monday granted bail in connection with an alleged rape of a minor girl at his farmhouse in the West Garo Hills district of the state.
A single judge bench of Justice W Diengdoh of the Meghalaya High Court observed that there was no direct evidence to link Marak to the sexual assault of the three-year-old child. Noting that he had been detained on “very flimsy grouds”, the court granted bail to BJP state vice-president.
It may be noted that Marak had been granted bail earlier in another case regarding the running of a brothel from his farmhouse and the recovery of arms and ammunition from the premises.
Meanwhile, the court has directed Marak to furnish a personal bond of Rs 30,000 and two sureties of the like amount for bail to be granted.
The court also asked him not to leave the country or try to interfere with the case or tamper with the evidence and ordered him to appear before investigating officers as and when summoned.
During the hearing of his bail plea filed by Marak’s Brother Tingku N Marak, the court noted that the accused was not arrested along with the victim at the time of the raid on his farmhouse and he cannot be termed an offender just because he owned the property as its “too far-fetched”.
The court’s order stated, “On consideration of the facts and circumstances involving the case of the accused brother of the petitioner, keeping in mind the value of liberty of a person who is confined in custody on very flimsy grounds, this court is of the opinion that the instant petition has some merits.”
Meghalaya BJP vice-president Bernard N Marak was arrested from Uttar Pradesh’s Hapur on July 26 after he had been on the run since his farmhouse had been busted and an active “sex racket” had been uncovered. Officials had rescued 25 minors and arrested 73 people in the case.
The minor girl was among those rescued and after her medical examination, it had come to the fore that she had been sexually abused. The BJP leaders name popped up during further investigations in the matter.
The medical examination however, had revealed that her sexual abuse was not recent. Since the incident, she has been placed in a children’s care home.
Marak had been remanded to judicial custody where he has been lodged for the past three months after speding a month in police custody.