No relief for Arunachal BJP MLA Lokam Tassar accused of raping pregnant woman

ITANAGAR: A court in Arunachal Pradesh has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of BJP MLA Lokam Tassar, accused of raping a pregnant woman.

The sessions court at Yupia near Itanagar on Monday rejected the bail plea of the Koloriang MLA who is evading arrest. Police have registered a case against Tassar for allegedly raping the woman on July 4 at his residence here. Hearing the bail application, judge Gote Mega said, “Presence of petitioner and victim at the place of occurrence is prima facie found at this stage. Whether or not, the alleged crime was committed on the relevant day is subject to rule of evidence which can’t be decided at this stage.”

“Nevertheless, having regard to the position and status of the petitioner, it is felt necessary that he should join ongoing criminal investigation by making himself available before the IO (investigating officer) of the case at the earliest occasion,” the court said.

The counsel of the woman said that the police can now arrest the MLA by giving intimation to the speaker of the assembly as no prosecution sanction is required.

Appearing on behalf of the MLA, advocate Khoda Tama submitted before the court that Tassar neither had committed rape nor had a consensual intercourse with the victim at any point of time. He also pleaded with the court to grant Tassar bail as he was willing to cooperate in the investigation, as and when called for.

However, the judge concluded that the submission made by the counsel of the woman and the public prosecutor “holds reasons to be believed that granting of pre-arrest bail will not be proper”.

Meanwhile, police said they have intensified efforts to arrest the MLA. Two of his houses at Naharlagun and Itanagar were raided but he could not be found, Sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Kamdam Sikom said. “We will arrest him as soon as he is found,” Sikom said.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu said the BJP would take strict action against the MLA if the court finds the allegations against him true. “The law will take its own course and no one is above the law,” Khandu added. Tassar did not vote in the presidential election on Monday.

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