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Meghalaya: Magisterial inquiry regarding BJP leader’s farmhouse, party to protest

The inquiry report has to be submitted to the District Magistrate, Swapnil Tembe within 15 days from Wednesday.

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Shillong: The district administration of West Garo Hills on Wednesday ordered a magisterial inquiry to find out details about the raid conducted by Meghalaya Police on July 22 last in Rimpu Bagan, the farm house of arrested State BJP vice president, Bernard N Marak, where allegedly a prostitution racket was being run, an official said.

The inquiry report has to be submitted to the District Magistrate, Swapnil Tembe within 15 days from Wednesday.

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On Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh police arrested Marak from Hapur district following a country-wide ‘look-out’ notice issued against him by the Meghalaya Police since he evaded arrest following a raid on his farm house at Edenbari in West Garo Hills.

“He (Marak) was produced before a magisterial court in Hapur on Wednesday. The Court had granted two-day transit remand,” Vivekanand Singh Rathore, the district police chief of West Garo Hills, told UNI.

Rathore said a team of Meghalaya police will bring Marak back to the state on Thursday.

The police apart from raiding the farmhouse also arrested 73 people from the premises and rescued five minors.

Marak has however denied these allegations and termed the police raid as a “political vendetta and the police are trying to gun him down in a fake encounter.”

Marak, a militant turned politician, is slated to contest from South Tura Assembly constituency segment, which is being held by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.

District Magistrate of West Garo Hills, Swapnil Tembe said that Rezia Ch Marak, the Executive Magistrate and Extra Assistant Commissioner, has been assigned to conduct the inquiry to find out whether Bernard N Marak is the actual legal owner of the property known as Rimpu Bagan.

“Whether requisite permission from competent authority was obtained from the concerned department for running such an establishment, whether maps of the building constructed in Rimpu Bagan are legal and were approved by the concerned department, whether the electricity connection in Rimpu Bagan is legal and whether electricity bills have been paid, whether water connection in Rimpu Bagan is legal and water bills have been paid,” Tembe said.

“Whether any license was issued against the owner of the premises for selling liquor and for running canteen, whether any inspection of the canteen was done and food safety certificate was issued or not, whether permission from the competent authority was obtained for keeping minors in the premises as they were allegedly being used as child labour, whether any permission has been obtained in the past related to any/event being held in Rimpu Bagan,” the order specified about the ambit of inquiry.

Meanwhile, State BJP president Ernest Mawrie said that the party relationship with the present government is strained with the present government arresting and harassing its party karyakatas.

The BJP is a coalition partner in the present NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government. “Of course it has strained our relationship with the government. We are an equal partner in the coalition government,” Mawrie told reporters.

While saying that as a partner in the government, the party would like to see that the law took its own course, however, the BJP leader hit out at Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to give press statements about the arrest of individuals. “It’s the duty and responsibility of the state police,” the BJP president asserted.

Mawrie said he would himself lead a protest against alleged harassment of BJP workers in the state.

“We are going to stage a protest against this harassment and this should not take place. The government should stop this police harassment. Being the party leader, I will lead the protest,” he said.

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