(The Malay Mail) – The Attorney-General’s (AG) Chambers was today slammed for allegedly “failing to investigate freely and thoroughly” the death of suspected car thief A. Kugan, who died in police custody, after a police constable was acquitted from the charge this morning.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president, N. Surendran, said since 2009, the police force has made many attempts to “cover up the case with all sorts of lies”.

“The former Selangor police chief, Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, was quoted as saying that Kugan had asked for a cup of water before he collapsed and died. Can you believe it? The police have been giving all sorts of excuses to cover up their own mess,” he told a Press conference this afternoon.

Surendran said Kugan’s case was one of the most horrific cases of death in police custody.

“They (police) knew who the real killer was, yet they make excuses and lies. Post-mortem result showed that Kugan was beaten up repeatedly; it’s clear cut evidence from the hospital.

“We were later accused for trying to sensationalise this issue by certain ministers. It’s a shame,” Surendran said.

Another PKR ┬ávice-president, R. Sivarasa, who was also present, urged the AG, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, to resign from his post as “he failed to handle the case professionally”.

“I call upon the AG to step down. He completely failed to bring justice to Kugan’s family. Although Kugan was under police custody, he had yet to be proven guilty. So, the question is, who killed Kugan in the lock-up?

“Gani Patail is responsible,” he said.

The Subang MP also questioned the AG on his earlier statement, made days after Kugan was pronounced dead.

“He said there were 11 police officers involved, but none of them were charged. Where are these 11 men? Why did he make the statement when no action was taken against them?

“The judicial system has failed,” said Sivarasa.

Kugan’s aunt, S. Renuga, who was also present with Kugan’s mother N. Indra, questioned: “He (Kugan) was only a suspect; does that mean it’s a license for the police to beat him to death?”

Surendran said they would appeal to the High Court or to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

Previously, Kugan was held for five days in police lock-up to aid investigations over the theft of luxury cars before he died at the USJ police station lock-up on January 20, 2009.

The death was initially classified as sudden death attributed to water in his lungs, according to an initial post-mortem report.

However, following public outcry, the case was reclassified as murder.

A second post-mortem was conducted at the insistence of Kugan’s family, and pictures from it that were released online indicated that Kugan had suffered severe bodily injuries.

This supported widespread belief that he was tortured while in police custody.