Kugan case: Charges next week, cops rapped

(The Star) – The controversy surrounding the death of suspected car thief A. Kugan while in police custody continued to heat up, with promise of swift action by one government leader while the police were criticised for making threatening statements.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator T. Murugiah said those involved in the death would likely be charged in court as early as next week.

Kugan, 22, who was remanded to assist investigations into several luxury car thefts, died at the Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya last Tuesday.

The post-mortem revealed that he had died due to fluid in his lungs, but Kugan’s family entered the Serdang Hospital mortuary that same day and took photographs of his body, which showed severe bruising.

They demanded a second post-mortem which was concluded on Sunday, although the report is not out yet.

While initially saying no foul play was involved, police have now reclassified the case as murder for the purpose of investigation, at the urging of the Attorney-General.

“I was told the doctor will send the post-mortem report to Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail. I was told by the A-G that it will be sometime next week,” Murugiah said.

“The investigation is still ongoing and we have to be patient.

“Most probably whoever is involved in the incident will be charged in court sometime next week,” he told reporters at the MCA’s Chinese New Year open house in Wisma MCA Monday.

Murugiah also said he went to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s home at 5pm Saturday to hand over the pictures of Kugan’s body and to explain what actually happened at the mortuary.

“I received the pictures from an unidentified person who sent it to my house. I also thanked him for helping the family who were given permission to do a second post-mortem.”

Najib, he said, also gave a monetary contribution which the family was grateful for.

“The family thanks Datuk Seri Najib and believes confidently that the Government will help correct the situation and that they will see justice done for their son,” he added.

In GEORGE TOWN, a Barisan component party leader said the police should not issue “threatening’’ statements against the two deputy ministers who were at the Serdang Hospital mortuary last Tuesday.

State People’s Progressive Party (PPP) chief Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan said Monday that the two ministers — one of whom was Murugiah, while the other was Datuk K. Devamany, also a deputy minister in the PM’s Dept — had gone to the mortuary in their capacity as the people’s representatives.

“They had gone there after being asked to be there by the relatives of the deceased. They were merely carrying out their duties as the people’s chosen representatives.

“The police should not be issuing threatening statements against them for that unless they had done something to break the law,’’ he told reporters at the state PPP Chinese New Year Open house held at the YMCA building.

He was commenting on Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar’s statement that police would record both the deputy ministers’ statements for being present at the mortuary.

Dr Loga also said the police should instead concentrate on carrying out a thorough investigation into Kugan’s death as both the ministers would not have come to the mortuary without any complaints.