Shillong, Jan 11: The outlawed Garo National Liberation Army’s (GNLA) chief Champion R. Sangma was Friday granted bail on two cases, but will continue to stay in jail since he has more pending cases against him.
The Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court granted bail to Sangma after the Meghalaya government failed to file a charge-sheet in the criminal cases against him within 90 days in Nongstoin, the district headquarters of West Khasi Hills.
“The high court has granted bail to my client (Sangma) on two cases filed against him in Nongstoin after the police failed to file a charge-sheet against him within 90 days,” Sangma’s legal Counsel Sujit Dey told IANS.
Under section 43-D of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, if the charge-sheet is not completed within 90 days, the same case can be extended to 180 days provided that the public prosecutor file a petition seeking an extension, Dey said.
On Dec 17, Sangma’s wife Enritha N. Marak moved the bail application for Sangma after Meghalaya Police failed to file the charge-sheet.
Dey, meanwhile, said he would soon move the Shillong Sessions Court seeking bail for Sangma in other cases.
Sangma, whose outfit is fighting for a separate Garoland, was arrested July 30 near the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya.
A rogue police officer, Sangma was wanted for masterminding several crimes, including killings and extortion in insurgency-ravaged Garo Hills in western Meghalaya, and has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for waging war against the Indian state and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The outfit, which had been outlawed by the Indian government, forged an operational alliance with the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, which provided it access to sophisticated arms and ammunition, and enabled it to unleash a reign of terror in the three impoverished districts of Garo Hills.