KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — Former police constable V. Navindran claimed here today that he was the “chosen scapegoat” in facing the charge of causing the death of A. Kugan, who was found dead in the Taipan USJ police station, Subang Jaya on Jan 20 2009.
Navindran, 32, the second defendant in the RM100 million negligence suit filed by Kugan’s mother, N. Indra, told High Court Judge Datuk V. T. Singham that two days after the incident, he and 12 of the police station’s personnel were ordered to attend a closed door meeting with the Subang Jaya police chief at the time, (the late) ACP Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar, and he was then ‘chosen’, despite not being willing to take the rap for it.
During cross-examination by the plaintiff’s counsel, R. Sivarasa as to what actually transpired during the meeting, Navindran, who now works as a marketing officer, claimed that Zainal told everyone that he needed a scapegoat for the incident, otherwise all of them would face the charge.
He was “chosen” after all the policemen present informed the ACP that he (Navindran) was the last person to be seen with Kugan, he added.
Navindran also told the court that Zainal had promised to provide a lawyer to represent him and when he appeared at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court for the first time on Oct 1 2009, a lawyer by the name of “Datuk Sallehuddin” advised him to plead guilty in return for a lesser sentence.
Questioned by Singham as to whether his family may have appointed the lawyer (Datuk Sallehuddin), the defendant said,” No”.
“As I did not do anything wrong in this case, I didn’t agree with the lawyer’s advice and decided to appoint my own lawyer to defend me,” said Navindran.
He added that immediately after Kugan’s death, he and the 12 other personnel were transferred to desk jobs at the Shah Alam Police Head Quarters.
“After this investigation was completed, I was still at the desk job but all the rest of the personnel were transferred to other police stations,” said Navindran.
Questioned by Senior Federal Counsel Azizan Md Arshad as to why he did not raise the matter during his defence when he was found guilty, Navindran said he was told by Zainal not to do so.
He, however, agreed with Azizan that he should have instructed his lawyer to raise the matter during the criminal trial because he disagreed with Zainal.
But the defendant did not agree with Azizan’s suggestion that his allegations were more of an “afterthought” or that there was no meeting with the lawyer concerned on that day.
On June 11, the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court sentenced 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.
On Jan 13, Indra, 44, filed the suit against Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (who was then Selangor police chief); former police constable V. Navindran; former Subang Jaya Police chief ACP Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar, the Inspector-General of Police and the government.
In her statement of claim, Indra claimed that all the defendants had failed to ensure the safety, health and welfare of her son, Kugan, who was 23 years old at the time, while he was in police custody from Jan 14 to 20, 2009.
The proceedings resume on Nov 29 before Singham. — Bernama