SHILLONG, March 24 - Walking out of jail on Friday evening after nearly six years, Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) chairman Champion R Sangma displayed the Tricolour and said: �I am a law-abiding citizen.�
The former Meghalaya police officer-turned-militant chief walked free after a Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan ordered his release from �illegal� detention.
�I am a law-abiding citizen. I cooperated with the law-enforcing agencies, jail authorities and Government,� Sangma said after his release.
Sangma had founded the GNLA in 2009. The events surrounding his arrest remain sketchy. He was arrested in Bangladesh in 2011 and handed over to India on June 30, 2012. Ever since Sangma has remained in custody.
However, the Meghalaya Police have not been able to gather any clinching evidence against the GNLA chief in about nine cases under which he was booked.
�The police could not prove anything. They submitted final reports in seven cases and said that they have no witness and evidence to establish my involvement,� Sangma said.
It was this absence of evidence that embarrassed the Meghalaya Government in the Supreme Court after Sangma and his team of lawyers appealed against the �illegal detention.�
�Garo people will follow me. At this moment, I have no intention to join politics, but I will discuss with my elders, brother and friends,� the former militant said.