Malaysiakini: Desperately seeking Bala and family
Posted July 6, 2008on:
Must people flee to save their lives…in tis country?
|Jul 5, 08 6:54pm|
|P Balasubramaniam, the private eye who made an explosive statutory declaration linking Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak to murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu – and retracted it a day later – has gone ‘missing’.
Also missing are his wife and their three children.
In the latest twist to the drama, the investigator’s nephew R Kumaresan today lodged a police report over the disappearance of his uncle, aunt and their children.
Kumaresan, 27, who was accompanied by a lawyer, lodged the ‘missing person’ report at the Brickfields police station at 5pm.Kumaresan’s lawyer N Surendran told reporters that his client was “very close” to Balasubramaniam’s family and had lodged a report out of concern over their safety.
Surendran, who stressed that he was an independent lawyer and not linked to opposition PKR, said Balasubramaniam has left his home in Rawang, and his two dogs, without notifying anyone early yesterday morning.
“Balasubramaniam (and his family) has been suddenly uprooted and disappeared into thin air as far as my client is concerned,” said Surendran.
Nephew: Not in hiding
Quizzed by reporters later, Kumaresan refuted suggestions that Balasubramaniam had gone into hiding.
He said he had last spoken to Balasubramaniam after his uncle made his first statutory declaration on July 1.
“He gave a copy of the original statement to my brother, Segar, for safekeeping,” he said, adding that he was aware that his uncle would make public the document during a press conference.
Kumaresan said he managed to speak to Balasubramaniam’s wife on Thursday night after the press conference with Anwar Ibrahim and did not sense anything was amiss then.
However, Kumaresan believes that Balasubramaniam and his family had gone missing the following morning – the day the second statutory declaration was made – and they could not be contacted since.
Kumaresan told reporters that it was highly unusual for Balasubramaniam and his family to be incommunicado adding that they had not gone missing before.
“If he is detained, we want the police to tell us. I don’t think that he had gone into hiding,” he stressed, adding that Balasubramaniam had never expressed that he might be in danger.
Meanwhile, Batu MP Tian Chua who appeared later at the police station, told reporters that PKR was very concerned over Balasubramaniam’s safety.
“This is what happens when you don’t have witness or whistleblower protection laws. Important witnesses can be compromised,” he said.
Chua was among three Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives who appeared at the Brickfields police station to express support for Balasubramaniam.
Phone call from police
Yesterday, Balasubramaniam made a second statutory declaration retracting his first one which was made public on Thursday.
His original statutory declaration revealed stunning allegations linking Najib with Altantuya, including that he had an affair with the murdered woman.
However, all references to Najib were removed from his second statutory.
According to Balasubramaniam’s lawyer, Americk Singh Sidhu, he last saw the private investigator at 5.45pm on Friday after receiving a phone call from the police.
The next morning Balasubramaniam, along with a new lawyer (left), called a press conference where he produced a new statutory declaration.
He claimed that he made the original declaration “under duress” though he did not name those who had forced him to sign the document.
The press conference was so hastily organised that just about every reporter missed it with the exception of Bernama.
Balasubramaniam, who wore a baseball cap at the brief press conference, did not say much and left minutes after.