Aug 9, 2007 Malaysiakini
The controversy surrounding the mysterious death of local actress K Sujatha is turning into a multi-million ringgit affair.
First, it was the Sentul district police chief K Kumaran who filed a RM10 million suit against PKR supreme council member
S Manikavasagam yesterday.
Now, the opposition politician wants to file a counter suit against the police officer for twice that amount.
Kumaran had claimed that Manikavasagam, in a press statement on Aug 3, had made allegations that tarnished his reputation.
Initially, the Sentul police were investigating the Sujatha case, which has seen a minister’s son being implicated, but the matter is now handled by the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.
At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today, Manikavasagam’s lawyer M Manoharan said his client has yet to receive Kumaran’s writ of summons.
As for Manikavasagam’s proposed suit, he said four other parties will also be named. These are the Inspector-General of Police, Kuala Lumpur CID chief, Works Minister S Samy Vellu’s son Vel Paari and the Malaysian government.
The lawyer said Kumaran would be sued for breach of public duty, allegedly trying to cover-up foul-play in Sujatha’s death, failure to be transparent in investigations and defamation.
Asked how Kumaran had allegedly defamed Manikavasagam, Manoharan said: “He repeatedly told the Tamil press that my client had political motives and was acting in bad faith.”
Did he get permission?
Meanwhile, Manikavasagam’s other counsel P Uthayakumar questioned if Kumaran had breached any laws by filing the suit since the latter was a civil servant.
He said Section 22 of the General Order and Administration Directives which applies to all civil servants stipulates that civil servants cannot initiate legal proceedings for personal interest involving matters arising from their civil duties without prior permission from the chief secretary.
Uthayakumar said he believes Kumaran had not received such permission from the chief secretary and this would be used as grounds to strike off the suit.
He also warned that should the courts allow Kumaran’s suit to proceed, it would set a bad precedent that would deter the public from lodging complaints against civil servants.
“The moment you lodge a complaint against a civil servant, they can sue you for RM10 million,” he said.
Sujatha, who died on June 25, had also worked as a secretary for Vel Paari, who is the chief executive officer of Maika Hodings, the investment arm of MIC.
Vel Paari had denied any involvement in the case. The 29-year-old actress’ case has received widespread media coverage, especially in the Tamil dailies.