Shillong, July 25 (PTI): Defending party leader Bernard N Marak, accused of running a brothel in Tura town, the BJP in Meghalaya claimed that he was ‘framed’ and that charges against him should be dropped.
The Opposition Congress, however, sought an independent probe into the case.
The police had on Saturday said that they rescued six minors and arrested 73 people from a farmhouse allegedly owned by Marak in Edenbari, situated on the outskirts of Tura.
State BJP president Ernest Mawrie, in a statement, said that Marak’s life was in danger.
“The BJP condemns the raid carried out at Edenbari. Bernard Marak has been unjustly framed and maligned. It appears that he is a victim of a political vendetta.
“I request the Government to protect Marak and withdraw the politically motivated charges against him,” Mawrie stated.
The BJP, though a part of the NPP-led ruling MDA coalition in BJP, had fought Autonomous District Council elections independently.
Marak, a former militant leader, comfortably won against a candidate put up by the chief minister in the elections held earlier in the year.
The BJP president clarified that the first floor of the three-storey building at Edenbari comprises 30 rooms, which are let out as homestays, and the second floor houses a hostel for underprivileged children from Garo Hills.
Mawrie said Bernard had been supporting them financially.
“Five out of the six children, which the police claimed to have rescued, are minors supported by Bernard. They are students of Edenbari School and Auxilium Convent School in Tura. Their caretaker’s wife and child were also taken away by the police, along with another couple who runs a fast food shop on the premises of the building,” he explained.
Branding the resort a brothel is “highly objectionable and unacceptable”, the State BJP chief asserted.
“The resort is running for the last three years and there has never been any complaint whatsoever,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Congress, calling for an independent investigation into the matter, said care must be taken to ensure evidences are not tampered with.
“An immediate independent investigation should be instituted to unveil the truth behind such nefarious activities in the State, and that, too, close to the chief minister’s residence.
“Those arrested persons must be sent to judicial custody so that all incriminating information can be extricated from them without the fear of any evidence getting tampered,” Congress vice president Ronnie V Lyngdoh said.