Judge ticks off senior cop for putting interest of police before public in Kugan's case

Khalid said police had rejected the second autopsy due to suspicions that Kugan’s body had been tampered with. —File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 ― A High Court judge berated Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar today for putting the interest of the police ahead of the public when he did not order an investigation into suspicions that the body of detainee A. Kugan had been tampered with before it was sent for a second post-mortem.
Datuk VT Singham, presiding over a RM100 million suit brought by Kugan’s mother, N. Indra, against Khalid, had asked the man who was in 2009 the Selangor police chief why he did not order an investigation or propose an inquest since there was a second post mortem report that conflicted with the first.
“So, your evidence is that all the injury on Kugan was caused by someone else? That’s your personal view. Why didn’t you allow an investigation?
“With respect, it seems you are thinking for the police when the public wanted to know (how Kugan really died). This is a very serious accusation,” Singham said.
Khalid had earlier indicated the possibility that Kugan’s body had been tampered with while in the custody of his family members, before it was sent for another autopsy.
The Selangor police chief reasoned to the court that this was why the police did not accept the findings of the second post-mortem by the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).
“There could be something which happened to the body when it was returned to the family and during the funeral procession. We (police) did not follow the body during the procession or when it was with the family and we do not know.
“That is why the police did not comment on or announce the results of the second post-mortem,” he said.
Khalid concurred with Kugan’s family lawyer, R. Sivarasa, that the first post-mortem had found 22 injuries on the youth’s body but noted that the report had also concluded that the cause of death was “fluid in the lungs”.
He later agreed that this was the first time he was voicing the police’s belief at the time that Kugan’s body could have been tampered with, prompting Singham to berate him.
According to previous reports, the second post-mortem had found a total of 45 injuries to Kugan’s body and concluded that the youth had died from a failure of his vital organs, resulting from severe beatings.
During Khalid’s testimony today, he also reportedly admitted that Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had initially instructed police to classify the case as murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code after the latter saw pictures of the deceased. But Khalid said that it was later agreed that the case be reclassified under Section 330 for “causing hurt to extort a confession” after the DIGP met with the A-G.
On June 11, the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court sentenced Constable V. Navindran to three years in prison after finding the police constable guilty of causing hurt to Kugan, a luxury car theft suspect, in an interrogation room of the Taipan USJ police station, Subang Jaya on Jan 16 2009.
Last month, Navindran, 32, testified in court that two days after the incident, in a meeting with the then Subang Jaya police chief at the time, (the late) ACP Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar, the latter had said that he needed a scapegoat for the incident.
Indra had filed the suit on January 13, this year, in which she also named Navindran, former Subang Jaya police chief ACP Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar, the Inspector-General of Police and the government, as the second to fifth defendant.
In her statement of claim, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants had failed to ensure the security, health and well-being of her son while he was in detention.

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