Shillong: A local court in Meghalaya on Monday issued a non-bailable warrant of arrest against state BJP Vice President Bernard Marak, who has been accused of running a brothel in one of his farmhouses at Edenbari, an official said.
Marak, who is also a sitting member of Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), has fled away to New Delhi to evade arrest.
The warrant of arrest was issued by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate of West Garo Hills district, Monica K Lyngdoh, a police official said.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya police are coordinating with Delhi police to trace and arrest Marak, believed to have gone into hiding in the national capital.
Marak is wanted in a case registered under the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956.
“We are in contact with Delhi police to help us trace Bernard Marak and bring him here for further investigation,” Vivekanand Singh Rathore, the district police chief of West Garo Hills said over the phone.
Marak said that he is not evading arrest, but is worried about his safety.
“I am not absconding nor evading arrest but I am trying to save myself from being encountered by the state police,” Marak said.
However, Rathore rubbished Marak’s claim of police encounter and said “these are plans to evade an arrest.”
On Friday, Meghalaya police raided Marak’s farmhouse, which was earlier a designated camp of the disbanded ANVC-B militant outfit, after a minor victim said in the court she and her friend were taken to farmhouse -Rimpu Bagan- and were sexually assaulted there.
During the raid, police found evidence and rescued six minors and arrested 73 people from the farmhouse.
The police have also seized a large number of liquor, contraceptives, knives and other incriminating items from the farmhouse.
Marak, who was earlier the chairman of the breakaway faction of A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC-B), a disbanded militant group, has claimed that the “minors were from underprivileged families” and he was taking care of their welfare, looking over their education, health and other immediate needs.
“If the kids were taken care of, why were they kept in a locked room? We had to break a wall to get to them. Moreover the room had no ventilation and seemed to have not been cleaned for years,” Rathore said.
Asked if the kids were sexually abused, the police official said the Child Welfare Committee is counselling and talking to them from today and further information would be available in the days ahead.
According to preliminary information available with the police, the farmhouse was being used as a brothel and Marak used to get direct cuts from the clients.
Rathore said prostitutes were brought in and they charged Rs 1000-1500 on an hourly basis and Marak got his commission from this illicit business.
“This was a brothel and all cuts were going to Marak for the illegal proceeds,” he added.