Bernard N Marak, vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Meghalaya unit, was arrested in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday after he was accused of turning his farmhouse on the outskirts of Tura town into a brothel, PTI reported.

“Bernard N Marak alias Rimpu has been arrested in Uttar Pradesh,” West Garo Hills district’s District Superintendent of Police Vivekanand Singh said. “A team is being sent there to bring him to Tura.”

He was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police in Hapur district, PTI reported. The BJP leader was absconding since the police raided his farmhouse on July 23. Six children were rescued and 73 persons were arrested following the raid.

Singh, who had earlier said that the place was being run as a brothel, on Tuesday told PTI that the authorities in Meghalaya had issued a lookout notice for Marak. A look out circular is issued to make sure that an individual who is absconding or wanted by law enforcement agencies is not able to leave the country.

The Meghalaya Police has registered a case against Marak under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, 1956.

A court in Tura on Monday issued a non-bailable warrant of arrest against him, PTI reported.

Marak is an elected member of the Garo Hill Autonomous District Council and has recently been in the news for criticising the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government. Marak’s party, the BJP, is an alliance partner of the Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party in the government.

Marak had earlier led the now-disbanded A’chik National Volunteer Force (B), an insurgent group fighting for a separate state for the Garo tribe. He faces over 25 criminal cases registered against him since the early 2000s across the north-eastern state, according to PTI.

After the raid, the 46-year-old accused Chief Minister Conrad Sangma of misusing the government machinery to settle personal scores with him.

BJP Meghalaya president Ernest Mawrie also backed his claim. “Bernard Marak has been unjustly framed and maligned,” he said. “It appears that he is a victim of a political vendetta.”

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong rejected the allegations, saying that the government allows the police to act according to their wisdom.

“Law is law irrespective of any party and whether or not he is part of the government,” Tynsong said. “Unpleasant things have happened and we will let the law take its own course.”

Multiple complaints in the past

The Meghalaya Police on Saturday said that they had received multiple verbal complaints about the farmhouse from residents of the Tura town.

In February, a missing girl, who was subsequently traced to the town, had alleged that she was taken to the farmhouse and sexually assaulted by two persons.

“Later, it was ascertained that the minor was sexually assaulted multiple times over one week,” the police had said. “A case was registered under Indian Penal Code sections 366A [procuration of minor girl], 376 [punishment for rape] and sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.”