Shillong: The Meghalaya High Court has granted bail to jailed BJP leader Bernard N Marak in a case relating to the alleged rape of a three-year-old girl at his farmhouse in West Garo Hills district.

While granting bail to Marak on Monday, a single bench of Justice W Diengdoh observed that there was no direct evidence linking Marak to the alleged sexual assault of the child.

The bench noted that the politician was confined on “very filmsy grounds

Marak was an elected member of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council and also the state BJP vice-president.

He was earlier granted bail in connection with the running of a brothel in his farmhouse and the seizure of arms and ammunition from the premises.

The bench directed Marak to be released on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 30, 000 and two sureties of like amount.

The court asked the BJP leader not to leave the country or try to tamper with the evidence, and asked to appear before the investigating officer as and when required.

Disposing of the bail petition filed by the BJP leader’s brother Tingku N Marak, the court stated that the accused was not apprehended along with the girl during a raid on his farmhouse, and to say that he is likely to be the offender only due to the fact that he is the owner of the property is “too far-fetched”.

“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,” it stated.

On July 26, Bernard N Marak was arrested from Hapur district in Uttar Pradesh after he allegedly absconded following the busting of a “sex racket” at his farmhouse that led to the rescue of 25 minors and arrest of 73 people.

The three-year-old girl was among those found in the farmhouse. Her medical examination confirmed that she was sexually abused and during further investigation, Marak was named among the accused.

However, the examination stated that sexual abuse perpetrated against her was not of recent origin. She has been placed in a children’s home.

Following nearly a month in police custody, Marak was remanded to judicial custody, and he was in jail for the last three months.

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