Bala safe for now: Were police involved in lawyer’s missing laptop?

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Pakatan Rakyat leaders have called on the Inspector-General of Police to issue a denial if special branch officers were not involved in the disappearance of a laptop belonging to a member of the legal team representing private investigator P Balasubramaniam.

The lawyer, Manjeet Dhillion who is a former Bar Council president, is due to handover Bala’s replies to a set of written questions asked by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday.

“We are gravely concerned about the safety of Bala given the latest development. His lawyer’s house was broken into for the second time and the only thing missing was his laptop,” Batu MP Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

“Other valuable items like his wife’s jewelry were untouched. This IT-savvy thief must have been interested only in the laptop.”

As of publication time, the IGP has not made any comment.

Not in immediate danger, so far

Meanwhile, amid growing concerns about Bala’s safety, another of his lawyers, Americk Sidhu, told Malaysia Chronicle that he was back in India and not in any immediate danger so far. Fearing for his safety and that of his family’s, Bala has opted to live overseas until investigations are complete and the truth is known.

Indeed, the stakes are high as the people that Bala has implicated in a controversial 2008 statutory declaration include Prime Minister Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor, their friend Razak Baginda and a Mongolian translator, Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was murdered after she threatened to blow the whistle on a submarines corruption case.

In November 2009, Bala emerged after 15 months in hiding. He shocked Malaysians once again with news that it was Najib’s brother Nazim and Rosmah’s friend Deepak Jaikishan, who had offered him RM5 million to retract his statement and flee the country, or risk seeing his family members harmed.

Despite public outrage and repeated calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry, both the MACC and the police have sat on the case.

Finally, the MACC asked Bala to meet its officers in London earlier this month to give his statement, but at the 11th hour, it pulled out and left Bala and his lawyers stranded. Saying it had been ordered by the Attorney-General not to go to London, it sent written questions for Bala to answer instead.