PART 2: BALA’S PRISON WITHOUT BARS

November 18, 2009 – 12:40 pm

On July 3, 2008, during the murder case of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaaribuu, Malaysian private investigator P. Balasubramaniam had made a statutory declaration indicating that (the then deputy prime minister) Najib Abdul Razak had a sexual relationship with Altantuya. Within 24 hours, he signed a second statutory declaration contradicting the earlier declaration (it erased all traces of allegations with references to Najib Abdul Razak, who is now Malaysia’s Prime Minister) and soon after the investigator and his family went missing. By July 6, 2008, the Malaysian police said they had asked Interpol to help find the investigator. And now, PI Bala has surfaced. On November 16, 2009, helmed by Raja Petra Kamarudin, the Malaysia Today website ran the first of what might be a series of interviews with the investigator. In Part Two of the interview, Bala is made to sign the second SD and is bundled out of the country. From thereon they keep him on a tight leash and he no longer has control over what he can say or do. He discovers he has just entered a life of imprisonment; although without the normal bars and padlocks but still a prison nevertheless. PI Bala was in $ingapore before flying off to Bangkok.
Click here for Part 1.

What happened next?

Deepak gave instructions to Dinesh to book a room at the Hilton Hotel KL Sentral. I left with ASP Suresh to my house in Rawang to see my wife and explain to her what was happening. I was concerned for the safety of my family. Deepak had informed me he wanted me to retract my first statutory declaration and then to immediately leave the country with my family. I was in a state of shock as to what was happening. I had anticipated that I would be arrested and interrogated after releasing my first statutory declaration but I did not anticipate my family would be threatened so I was not prepared for this. As this VIP Datuk was also involved, I realised the situation was very serious.

What time did you arrive home after leaving The Curve?

ASP Suresh and I arrived at my house at about 2.00 am that morning. I explained everything to my wife and told her we had to pack up and leave Malaysia that very day, as I had been instructed. I also told her to get ready to go to the immigration department that morning to apply for my children’s passports and to renew hers. I had arranged with a friend of mine called Christopher to pick them all up at 8.30 am and to drive them to the Pusat Damansara immigration department that morning with all their luggage.

Where did you go next?

ASP Suresh then drove me to the site at which he was burning wires where he organised his workers to do the loading onto some 3-ton trucks. We then left for the Hilton Hotel in KL Sentral.

What time did you arrive at the Hilton Hotel?

We reached the Hotel about 3.00 am. ASP Suresh called Dinesh to find out the room number. Both Deepak and Dinesh met us in the lobby and we all went up to the room. I had been told earlier that my family and I would be sent to Hong Kong. I said I was not happy about being sent to Hong Kong and I would prefer to go to Chennai [in southern India]. Deepak agreed to this.

He then tried to arrange a private jet for us. This had to be cancelled when it was realised we would have to go through immigration at the airport. Deepak then suggested we go through $ingapore by road, then fly to Bangkok en route to Chennai. I agreed. They continued talking to me about the seriousness of my first statutory declaration and that I would have to retract it otherwise they could not guarantee anything if the deal failed. Eventually Dinesh left for home to take a nap.

What else did you discuss while in the hotel room?

Deepak was telling me how he had become very good friends with Rosmah from the time she used to visit his shop in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. He wouldn’t let me sleep as he was talking all the time.

“Sometime later a Commissioner for Oaths arrived. He was a Malay man. I was asked to sign this [second] statutory declaration in front of this commissioner for oaths and he attested my signature…  I was never given an opportunity to read the contents of this statutory declaration.”

Did anything else happen that morning?

Dinesh returned to the hotel looking refreshed. At about 7.45 am someone delivered a draft copy of the second statutory declaration to the hotel. Deepak went down to the lobby to collect it after receiving a call on his handphone. Sometime later a Commissioner for Oaths arrived. He was a Malay man. I was asked to sign this statutory declaration in front of this commissioner for oaths and he attested my signature. He asked me if I knew where his office was and I said I did not. He then told Deepak to make sure he showed me where his office was on the way to the Prince Hotel. I was never given an opportunity to read the contents of this statutory declaration.

Did you know at this stage that you would be taken to the Prince Hotel?

Yes. Deepak had informed me that he would be organising a press conference at the Prince Hotel later that morning and that he would make sure a lawyer represented me. He told me not to worry and that I would not have to say anything, just leave it up to the lawyer to talk to the press.

What time did you leave the Hilton Hotel?

About 8.45 am. Deepak, Dinesh and I left together. I went with Dinesh in his BMW while Deepak went on his own. Dinesh did not show me where the Commissioner for Oaths office was.

What time did you reach the Prince Hotel?

We arrived at the Prince Hotel at about 9.15 am and drove up the ramp to the car park where we waited for further instructions from Deepak who was apparently downstairs by that time. Eventually Dinesh received a call on his handphone and he escorted me to a lift which took us down to what looked like a type of lobby on an upper level.

Did you meet anyone in this lobby area?

Yes. Deepak was waiting in this lobby with another Indian man. This Indian man was introduced to me as one Mr. Arunampalam, a lawyer. This lawyer spoke to me and told me to just keep quiet in the press conference arranged for us in the main lobby. He told me not to talk to any of the reporters under any circumstances and that he would do all the talking. Deepak then told Arunampalam to answer not more than three questions from the reporters waiting downstairs and handed him a few copies of the second statutory declaration to distribute to the reporters.

What happened next?

At about 10.00 am Mr. Arunampalam and myself took the lift down to the main lobby where we met about four or five reporters. Mr. Arunampalam talked to them and gave each of them a copy of the second statutory declaration. He told the reporters that I had been forced to sign the first statutory declaration under duress and that I now wanted to retract the contents. He would not answer any of the questions the reporters asked him.

The driver stopped at the Malaysian immigration at the Causeway and we all had to get out of the van to present our passports at the counter. None of our passports were stamped. We then proceeded across the Causeway to $ingapore immigration who did stamp our passports. After clearing immigration, we were driven straight to Changi Airport.

Where were Deepak and Dinesh during the press conference?

I think they left the hotel as they did not join us in the press conference.

What happened after the press conference?

Mr. Arunampalam then drove me back to the Hilton hotel in his own car. He dropped me off at the lower lobby and I never saw him again.

Did you at any time engage Mr. Arunampalam as your lawyer to appear in the press conference?

No. I have never met this lawyer before. Deepak was the one who arranged for him to represent me at the press conference. I never told him what to say. All this was arranged by Deepak and not myself.

What did you do once you had been dropped off at the Hilton Hotel?

I went back to the room and knocked on the door. Deepak and ASP Suresh were there. I waited in the room while Deepak was making phone calls to a Ms. Wong who I think was his secretary. She was apparently with my wife and children at the Pusat Damansara immigration centre helping my wife with the passport applications and renewal. During this period Deepak gave me RM20,000 in Hong Kong dollars for my expenditure. He told me he had arranged a tourist van to drive me and my family to $ingapore where we were to catch a flight to Bangkok.

What time did you leave the Hilton Hotel?

At about 1.00 pm Deepak received a phone call from Ms. Wong informing him the passports had all been done and so I left the Hilton Hotel in the van with an Indian driver. This van then drove me to the Pusat Damansara immigration centre. The driver was talking to Ms. Wong during the journey and was receiving instructions where to meet my wife and children. When we arrived at the Pusat Damansara immigration centre, I met my wife and children and we loaded all the luggage into the van and proceeded on our journey to $ingapore.

What happened when you arrived in $ingapore?

The driver stopped at the Malaysian immigration at the Causeway and we all had to get out of the van to present our passports at the counter. None of our passports were stamped. We then proceeded across the Causeway to $ingapore immigration who did stamp our passports. After clearing immigration, we were driven straight to Changi Airport.

What happened at Changi Airport?

I changed some money to get $ingapore coins so I could call Deepak to find out about our flight to Bangkok. Deepak told me our tickets were waiting for us at the Silkair counter. I proceeded to this ticket counter and collected our tickets. We all caught the evening flight to Bangkok which left $ingapore at about 8.00 pm.

TO BE CONTINUED

Note: The above was posted at Malaysia Today. Visit Malaysia Today for more updates.

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