GNLA ‘Chairman’ walks out of jail

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Shillong, March 23 (IANS) Champion Sangma, “Chairman” of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a rebel group fighting for a Garoland in western Meghalaya, walked out of jail on Friday after the Supreme Court ordered his release.

“He (Champion) was released (from Shillong district jail) this afternoon. He is with his relatives now,” Sangma’s legal counsel Sujit Dey told IANS.

On Tuesday, a division bench of the Supreme Court comprised of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, while passing the order on a writ petition filed by Sangma against the state, set aside the order passed by the additional district magistrate (judicial) allowing an application made by the prosecution against Sangma’s release.

The bench noted that the application for the rejection of Sangma’s bail application was defective as Sangma had never filed any bail application.

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Sangma, one of the most-wanted Garo rebel leaders, was arrested from Umkrem Pyrwdiwah axis on the edge of the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya`s East Khasi Hills district on July 30, 2012.

Prior to his arrest by Meghalaya Police, the GNLA Chairman was captured by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) commandos on November 23, 2011 from his hideout at Haluaghat in Bangladesh`s Mymensingh district.

Sangma is accused in over 30 criminal cases. In 2011, a first information report was filed against him but Sangma was not arrested because he was on the run, according to the prosecution.

Sangma was declared an absconder and a chargesheet was filed in 2012. He moved the Supreme Court alleging that the police had implicated him in different cases.

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Sangma, a former Deputy Superintendent of Police, deserted Meghalaya Police and floated the outlawed GNLA in November 2009 for a separate Garoland to be carved out of Meghalaya.

The Centre has declared the GNLA as a “terrorist organisation” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

–IANS

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