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Kugan: Lock-up death classified as murder: AG

Contributed by Anonymous on Friday, January 23 @ 09:48:17 CST

POLICE LINE DIVIDE: Amidst the tense demonstration, two middle-ranked police officers opened discussions with representatives of the demonstrators on how many people would be allowed to enter the Bukit Aman premise to submit a memorandum on Kugan’s death to Deputy CID director Datuk Rodwan Yusof. Eventually, the seven selected included Kugan’s mother, sister and brother. -- NST pix by MOHD FADLI HAMZAH

V. Anbalagan, Farrah Naz Karim & Jennifer Gomez
NST, Jan 23 2009
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has classified the death of lock-up detainee S. Kugan as murder. He instructed the police to investigate the death based on the injuries suffered by the deceased, he told the NST this afternoon.

"The due course of law will take effect. Let the police investigate and we will decide on the prosecution based on the evidence," he said.

In an immediate reaction, Datuk S. K. Devamany praised the Gani's initiative. "That’s very good," he told the NST.

On reports that police are unhappy with him and Senator T. Murugiah for joining the mob that a mob which forced its way into the Serdang Hospital mortuary on Tuesday night to inspect Kugan's body, he said: "I don’t regret going there. The rakyat needed us. After all, as an MIC central committee member and as a deputy minister, this is my job, to serve the rakyat and to serve the Indian community when they need help."

"If there is no foul play, then no one should be afraid. Let the law prevail. For now, I can see that with the murder charges, justice has prevailed."
The Human Rights Commission welcomed the Attorney-General's instruction to police. Its chairman Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said probing the death was the “right thing to do.”

“Let the police collect the evidence for the attorney-general to decide without fear or favour on the next course of action,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Bukit Aman, about 50 Opposition and BN members joined Kugan's family in demonstrating outside the national police headquarters, carrying banners and demanding the resignation of Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar.

The crowd, which began gathering at 3pm, became agitated when policemen ordered them to take down the banner at 4pm and disperse. However, the crowd ignored the order.

The 50-strong policemen also tried to take down the banner but the crowd resisted and shouted at the police, claiming they wanted to demonstrate peacefully.

At 3.30pm, two police officers began discussions with the demonstrators on how many people can enter into the Bukit Aman office to hand over a memorandum outlining their demands.

Twenty minutes later, seven members of the demonstrators, including Kugan's mother, sister and brother joined the politicians to enter the Bukit Aman premise and handed over the memorandum to Deputy Criminal Investigations Department director Datuk Rodwan Yusof.

The memorandum chiefly demanded a second post-mortem be carried out on Kugan's body and insisted that a special Bukit Aman team handle the investigations besides imploring that Selangor police stay out of the probe. The demonstrators eventually dispersed at 5.20pm.

Earlier, in KUCHING, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan pledged that an in-depth investigation will be launched into Kugan's death.

The probe will be carried out despite a post-mortem report indicating that Kugan’s death was due to pulmonary edema or fluid ac*****ulation in the lungs.

Musa, however, criticised the actions of a mob which forced its way into the Serdang Hospital mortuary on Tuesday night, evicted the hospital staff and locked themselves in for two hours.

They were believed to have taken pictures of Kugan’s body, which they claimed had bruises all over.

“The mob incident has only tampered with evidence, which shouldn't happen in the first place. The group should not have obstructed the medical team from performing their duties that night.

“If the family insists on another post mortem, then it is up to them and it is also up to whether a doctor is willing to do so. As far as the investigation goes, the post mortem was conducted by an authorised government medical officer,” said Musa after chairing the 1st Tripartite meeting between the police chiefs of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei yesterday.

Kugan was arrested on Jan 14 to assist police in several robbery and car theft cases. With his assistance, police recovered 15 stolen luxury vehicles. He collapsed and died during interrogation on Tuesday morning.

Police have contacted two deputy ministers, Senator T. Murugaiah and Datuk S.K. Devamany, both with the Prime Minister's Department, to have their statements recorded.

Both were said to have been there during the incident, but have claimed they were contacted separately and arrived only after the mob had locked themselves in. Both have said they were willing to cooperate in the investigations.

Police have also identified most of the 50 people in the mob.

The Bar Council used Kugan's death to call on the authorities to expedite ongoing inquests into other custodial deaths.

"We are deeply concerned that this custodial death will be relegated to a mere statistic like the others," Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said in a statement.

The look in the eyes says it all. The crowd which gathered this afternoon in Bukit Aman are not going to give up on the now classified ‘murder’ case of A Kugan. The policemen, right, keeping the cordon would be thinking too of the 11 policemen now being questioned over their watch of Kugan, leading to his death. — pic by Choo Choy May,




MIC Youth wants independent probe into Kugan’s death By A. LETCHUMANAN The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: MIC Youth on Friday called for an independent inquiry into the death of suspected car thief A. Kugan. Its coordinator T. Mohan said the inquiry would be able to shed light on what had happened. The 22-year-old Kugan died in police custody on Tuesday after being detained for five days. He was being held under a two-week remand order to facilitate investigations into several luxury car thefts. Mohan also denied claims that Kugan’s family had “barged” into the Serdang Hospital mortuary on Tuesday night to look at his body. “In fact, it was the hospital authorities who gave permission for the family to identify the body,” he said, adding that family members were shocked to see the injuries on the body. Mohan denied Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar’s allegation that the family had “tampered” with Kugan’s remains during the incident. “DCP Khalid seems to have jumped the gun by shifting blame to family members when the actual culprits ... are still free,” he said. According to the post-mortem report, Kugan died because he had liquid in his lungs. It is however not known what caused this. MIC Youth division leaders throughout the country have lodged more than 25 reports at various police stations urging an investigation into Kugan’s death as well as for action to be taken against Khalid. The state police chief had earlier vowed that there would be no cover-up in police investigations into the death. Meanwhile, Klang MP Charles Santiago criticised Khalid for trying to protect his officers and for claiming that Kugan had died of breathing difficulties. “I have watched the video recording of Kugan taken at the mortuary and there were severe marks on his body, deep cuts on his wrists and bruises on his legs,” the DAP politician claimed. Santiago said this was not the first case of police detainees being abused or of custodial death.



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