PI Bala’s lawyers deny claims paid by Anwar

By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

Lawyers for exiled private eye P. Balasubramaniam hotly denied today claims they were paid agents of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and challenged Anuar Shaari, the man behind the claims, to prove it.

A former aide to the Opposition Leader, Anuar had last Thursday suggested Balasubramaniam’s three lawyers, Americk Singh Sidhu, Manjeet Singh Dhillon and Amarjit Singh Sidhu, were funded by his ex-boss whose dreams for capturing Putrajaya and becoming the next prime minister are well-known.

Anuar, who quit PKR in March last year, told the lawyers to come clean on how Balasubramaniam, who had left Malaysia in a hurry last year, was able to afford trips to London and Paris.

“We have not charged Bala one sen for our professional fees. We don’t intend to charge for our professional fees,” Americk told reporters here today.

“We now have certain members of government – I don’t understand what their agenda is – but now trying to discredit myself, Manjeet and Amarjit. They are as usual trying to kill the messenger,” he said, pointing out PKR-turned-Independent MP, Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim had made similar claims in public.

“I would have thought people like Anuar Shaari would be here today. People like Zahrain would be on our side; people who would like to see the investigation conducted in a proper manner. I would have thought they would support us,” he added, highlighting that the lawyers had invited the minor politician to today’s press conference.

The lawyer stressed he and his colleagues were only interested in making sure ongoing investigations into Balasubramaniam’s claims are concluded and that those who had threatened the private eye and the latter’s family were brought to book.

Balasubramaniam, who had been hired by political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, a close friend of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had shaken the country two years ago in a statutory declaration linking the married premier romantically to a Mongolian translater, Altantuya Shaariibuu, found murdered in a Shah Alam jungle.

Americk accused Anuar of cooking up stories because he does not know the facts.

The lawyer, now a full-time post-graduate student based in Perth, Australia, said only Manjeet had accompanied Balasubramaniam to Paris earlier this month, where the private detective was questioned by French authorities over the sale of two costly Scorpene submarines to the Malaysian government several years ago, supervised by then Defence Minister Najib.

France is probing its state-owned ship-making firm DCN (Direction des Constructions Navales) on several counts of corruption charges involving different submarine sales, with the possible bribery and kickbacks to top officials in France.

Americk said Balasubramaniam, who is now living in Chennai, India, is surviving on money “thrusted upon him” by a wealthy carpet dealer named Deepak Jaikrishnan, whom the private detective had previously mentioned in his statutory declaration.

Some Malaysians living in London had also help finance Balasubramaniam’s recent stay in the costly British capital, Americk said, after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) pulled out of a previously arranged interview there to record statements.