TURA, Nov 14 � Meghalaya Social Welfare Minister Deborah Marak was granted bail yesterday by the Chief Judicial Magistrate�s Court at Williamnagar in East Garo Hills. She was summoned by the Court in connection with a chargesheet filed by the police for allegedly using the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) during the 2013 Assembly election.
The Court of CJM F Silkam Sangma also asked the defence counsel to pay a surety of Rs 1 lakh.
The Minister flanked by her husband arrived at the court at 11 am. She was represented by advocate Kaustav Paul. The defence advocate moved two petitions, which was accepted by the court. The court has fixed the next hearing for November 26.
This is for the first time that a Minister in Meghalaya is facing trial for politician-militant nexus.
�I am a law abiding citizen and have appeared before the court�, said Deborah.
Political activist, Tennydard Marak, who was also named in the chargesheet along with the Minister in the case was also granted bail and has been asked not to leave the court�s jurisdiction.
On November 3, the police had filed the chargesheet against Deborah and Tennydard based on an FIR filed by independent candidate Jonathone Sangma in February last year. In his FIR, Jonathone had alleged that Deborah had used the GNLA for intimidating voters.
The police had filed chargesheet against Deborah under Sections 102 (B), 171(F) and 506 of the IPC after gathering evidence to prove that she had used underground elements to intimidate voters of independent candidate Jonathon on the eve of the 2013 Assembly elections.
While Section 120 (B) deals with criminal conspiracy, Section 171(F) is about undue influence in elections, and Section 506 is about criminal intimidation. A person held guilty under Section 120 (B) can be imprisoned up to six months, under Section 171(F) up to one year and under Section 506 up to seven years.