Shillong: Meghalaya’s opposition Congress party has demanded an independent probe into “nefarious activities” at the farmhouse of state BJP leader Bernard Marak.
State Congress vice-president Ronnie V. Lyngdoh on Sunday said that the police raid at Marak’s farmhouse on Saturday is just the “tip of the iceberg of what possibly could be lying beneath the dark underbelly of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA).
He said the raid comes at a time when the government is heaped with allegations of corruption in all spheres of governance and to which it is yet to come clean.
“Therefore, this sudden raid at Marak’s farmhouse on the outskirts of Tura is but a cover-up for all the misdeeds of the government for the past five years. There is more than that meets the eye to merely believe that the Home Minister (Lahkmen Rymbui) and the police did not know about
Marak’s activities,” the former Congress minister asked.
Lyngdoh also asked the United Democratic Party (UDP), a key ally in the National People’s Party (NPP)-led MDA coalition, to comment about the “nefarious activities” in the farmhouse considering the Home department is held by one of its senior members.
The BJP which has two members in the 60-member Meghalaya assembly is also supporting the MDA government.
“Further, what must not be allowed to go begging are questions which the Chief Minister (Conrad Sangma) has to answer. Afterall all these were happening under the very nose of the Chief Minister,” the senior Congress leader alleged.
Stating that Marak’s resort where the raid was conducted is located not at a great distance from the Chief Minister’s residence, Lyngdoh said, “it should not come as a surprise if some of the arrested
are close associates of the NPP.”
“There should be an immediate independent investigation to unveil the truth behind such shameless and nefarious activities which has been happening in the state and that too very close to where the Chief Minister resides,” the Congress leader demanded, adding that all the arrested persons must be sent to judicial custody so that more incriminating information can be got from them.
Demanding an answer from Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui on the delay to raid the farmhouse in spite of a case of sexual assault on a minor girl surfaced in February, Lyngdoh asked, “Was their pressure from the BJP, or was there a tacit understanding between Marak and the top Garo leaders
in the NPP.”
Moreover, he said the allegations made by the accused BJP leader against the Chief Minister that the raid was conducted to lend vent to frustrations over the prospects of defeat by the BJP in the South Tura seat must also be interpreted by looking at the bigger picture.
“It is crystal clear that Chief Minister’s desperation is showing and he is now using the police to clean up his own mess. Will the Chief Minister be honest enough to tell the people of the State why it took him and the police so long to crack down on the BJP leader? Is it true that he would have kept silent if the BJP had left the South Tura Constituency undisturbed in the NPP’s favor,” the Congress leader asked.
“Let us also not forget that there are 25 criminal cases pending against Marak which are all of a serious nature considering his former association with the militant outfit the Achik National Voluntary Council (B). So what was Chief Minster waiting for? For many more girls to become victims of flesh trade or get sexually abused by criminals,” he further asked.
Lyndoh said that the raid at the BJP leader’s farmhouse in fact once again raises serious questions on the future of State under Chief Minister Sangma and his deputy Prestone Tynsong.
“The case is a reflection of the complete failure of the government to check corruption and nefarious activities, be it about illegal coal mining, loot in other sectors like power, education, and health, and depriving the people of their right to growth, employment and quality human development or making the good reputation of the state intact,” the Congress leader said.