KUALA LUMPUR: The police did not inform A Kugan’s mother that he was arrested despite her repeated queries on his whereabouts, the Kuala Lumpur High Court was told today.

Testifying in her RM100 million suit against the deputy IGP and four others, N Indra said she only learnt of her son’s arrest when he died in police custody, six days later.

“My family and I searched for him at several police stations, including the Puchong police station,” she told the court during cross examination.

“When I contacted the police, they lied to me and said that he had not been arrested,” said Indra.

In her written statement, she also said that a day after her son’s arrest, two police officers had turned up at her brother’s house to question them about Kugan.

“But they did not inform us that Kugan had been arrested. I only knew my son was arrested on Jan 20, 2009 after the police informed the news of my son’s death to my brother and sister-in-law, Renuga,” she said.

Indra said the last time she had seen her son was on the Jan 13, 2009, a day before he was arrested. The next time she saw him, he was dead and lying in the Serdang Hospital mortuary, his body riddled with serious injuries and wounds.

Even then, she said, she was not immediately allowed to view her son’s body and was forced to wait outside the mortuary for about three hours.

“I believe the police ordered [the hospital] to stop us from seeing my son’s body,” she said in her written statement.

“Only after waiting several hours and after my lawyer N Surendran as well as several other opposition politicians made many requests, was my family and I allowed to see Kugan at around 1am on Jan 21, 2009.”

Shocked by police’s statement

Indra said that the condition of her son’s body, which had “signs of beating and serious injuries” shocked her and her family.

“The whole family cried loudly because we could not hold back our sadness. Kugan was my eldest son,” she added.

Indra said due to the extent of Kugan’s injuries, she did not suspect the police would eventually deny having beaten her son to death.

But she said she learnt that the first defendant, the then Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar, had ruled out foul play while she was on her way to Kugan’s burial.

“At that time, while we were at the funeral, we learned that the first defendant had said on the radio that Kugan had died due to water in his lungs.

“We were shocked that the police would not confess that they had beaten Kugan to death,” said Indra.

The court was also told that Khalid had made the statement prior to the release of the first autopsy report by Dr Abdul Karim Tajuddin.

This spurred Indra and her family to postpone the burial to request for a second autopsy, which later revealed that Kugan had suffered terrible beatings leading to his cells breaking down and damaging his kidneys.

Attempt to cover-up cause of death

Indra was testifying in her suit against the deputy IGP Khalid Abu Bakar, police officer V Navindran, former Subang Jaya police chief Zainal Rashid, the then IGP as well as the government for negligence and breach of statutory duty.

The plaintiff’s lawyers are A Sivarasa, RL Bani Prakash and Latheefa Koya.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the defendants are Tuan Haji Arshad Md Arshad, Nur Aqilah Ishak, and R Ramesh Sivakumar.

Presiding over the case is Justice VT Singham.

In the statement of claim, Indra said Kugan was arrested by the police on Jan 14, 2009. On Jan 20, at about 9pm, a police officer informed her that her son had died while in police custody.

Indra claimed that on Jan 21, Khalid had issued a false explanation to the media on the cause of death, alleging that Kugan had asked for a glass of water and then collapsed and died.

She also claimed that the defendants made attempts to cover-up the real cause of death and issued statements calculated to exonerate the police from blame or liability.

In a separate trial in June this year, Navindran was found guilty on two counts of causing hurt to Kugan. Shah Alam Sessions Court judge Aslam Zainuddin sentenced him to three years’ jail on each count, to be served concurrently.

Anisah Shukry | November 2, 2012, Free Malaysia Today