PETALING JAYA: The family of N Dharmendran have claimed that the Prime Minister’s Department and police are harassing them.
Father of the deceased, V Narayanasamy, said he received multiple phone calls on May 27 from a person who claimed to be working with the PM’s department known as D Ravindran.
“He told me that he is calling from the PM’s Department and that they want to help us solve Dharmendran’s case,” he said.
“He also told me to keep the conversation secret and that I should not share the information with Dharmendran’s wife or the lawyers,” he added.
Narayanasamy also claimed that Ravindran, who is a Pemandu director, had advised him not to engage the lawyers that are already assisting the family.
“He told me not to engage the current lawyers and that he would help provide new lawyers to handle the case,” he said.
“He also assured me that they would take care of the whole thing and make sure justice was served,” he added.
Narayanasamy had refused the favours and had since asked Ravindran, who also claimed that he was working under the newly appointed minister Senator Paul Low, to stop contacting him.
Dharmendran, 32, an Indah Water employee was arrested on May 11 shortly after lodging a police report that he was involved in a fight earlier that night.
Family members later received a call saying that Dharmendran was sent to HKL, where he died, on May 21 due to an asthma attack.
However, the post-mortem revealed that he had died of blunt force trauma and the police have since classified the case as murder.
‘Najib must explain’
Lawyer and PKR vice president N Surendran, who was also present at the press conference, criticised Ravindran for asking the family to keep the conversation confidential.
“Why must they keep it a secret if they are sincere in helping the grieving family?” he asked.
“It’s clear that there is an attempt by the PM’s Department to disengage us as lawyers and cover up the matter,” he added.
Surendran urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to explain his matter.
“This is not the first time they are doing this. They placed a ban on Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand from performing the second autopsy in C Sugumar’s case, now this?” he said.
“We want an explanation from the PM and all those involved in the PM’s Department on the issue of harassment being suffered by the family,” he added.
Dharmendran’s widow M Marry said that the police are more interested in recording statements from family members and their lawyers but not the actual perpetrators.
“They collect statements from us for hours even though the autopsy report shows that my husband died of blunt force trauma. We don’t know what happen, why interrogate us?” she said.
“The police should investigate and take statements from all the police officers involved in the arrest and interrogation of my husband, that would paint a clearer picture for them,” she added.
Senator Low: Our intentions misunderstood
Senator Low meanwhile has denied that the government was attempting any cover up on the case as alleged by Dharmendran’s family and lawyers. He said the PM Department’s intentions had been misunderstood.
“We tried to explain that we are willing to work together with any party, regardless of political affiliations,” he said.
“This was sadly misunderstood as a means to settle out of court,” he added.
As minister overseeing human rights and integrity, Low called upon the police to hasten their investigation which should be transparent, impartial and definitive.
“I have spoken to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on this and have his assurance of a thorough investigation, and anyone found responsible will be prosecuted to the full extent of law,” he said.
Low further claimed that his office had spoken to PKR’s Subang Jaya MP and lawyer R Sivarasah yesterday to clarify that they are willing to bridge the political divide.
“We need to rebuild the public confidence in all our enforcement agencies and that human rights, safety and security must be respected and protected especially under police custody,” he said.
“Furthermore, I’d like to assure the public that a thorough evaluation of all procedures, practices and regulations will be made to ensure that they comply with the highest standard of integrity to safeguard the well-being of any person in custody,” he added.
Jayathas cries foul
In related development, PKR’s S Jayathas condemned a front page report by Utusan Malaysia about how he pretended to faint after obstructing a government official.
In a report called “Ahli PKR ‘berlakon’ pengsan”, printed on May 27, Utusan alleged that Jayathas pretended to faint after claiming he was pushed by a police officer.
Jayathas and lawyers had accompanied the family of Dharmendran to the Dang Wangi police headquarters on May 26 to lodge a police report when the incident took place.
“Being a dialysis patient, my legs are weak. I was not pretending. I felt giddy and fell after I was pushed by a police officer,” he said.
“The police claimed that I went in and out of the police station too many times but in reality, I only came out once to address members of the press and was denied re-entry right after,” he added.
Jayathas also said it was irresponsible of the Dang Wangi police chief to make statements before any investigations are carried out.
“They haven’t conducted any investigations yet they want to charge me under Section 353 of the Penal Code – obstructing a government official,” he said.
“I think it is very immature and irresponsible of him and he should now explain himself,” he added.
G Lavendran and Samah Mariam, Free Malaysia Today