Deepak: I regretted getting involved in Bala’s SD

Nigel Aw, Malaysiakini

Businessperson Deepak Jaikishan regretted his involvement in getting private investigator P Balasubramaniam to make a second statutory declaration (SD) which reversed an earlier one linking Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

In an interview with Malaysiakini last night, Deepak said he had only become involved at the request of a female friend associated with the parties who would be affected by the fallout of the first statutory declaration.

“I was asked to help by a friend, I agreed to help her because I could see the repercussions will affect their entire group. It was to me – getting involved in this whole Bala fiasco – a mistake.

“I had no business being there, I am a businessman. I regret helping a friend whom I thought was true… I am not supposed to be involved in this James Bond movie,” he said.

NONEHowever, Deepak (left) declined to elaborate on the identity of this female friend.

Asked to elaborate on his regret, after a long pause, Deepak replied: “Would you not regret getting involved in something so murky, that involves murder, that involves so many things which are so negative, would you not regret it? Anybody would regret it.”

The carpet merchant added that the fiasco had created a “negative aura” for him as a businessperson.

Balasubramaniam, who had gone public with the first SD on July 3, 2008 abruptly withdrew it at another press conference the following day.

Accompanied by lawyer M Arulampalam on that day, Balasubramaniam produced a second SD, claiming that he had made the first one under duress and fled the country the next day.

NONEBalasubramaniam (right) re-emerged on Nov 12, 2009 in the form of a five-partYouTube video interview – believed to be shot in India – retracting his second SD and claiming that he had only made it after being offered RM5 million from Deepak whom he claimed was linked to the premier’s wife Rosmah Mansor.

Deepak, who only addressed the controversy on April 6, 2011 after whistleblower Raja Petra Kamarudin revived the matter, dismissed his links to Balasubramaniam as a mere clubbing mate and described Rosmah as like an “older sister” who buys carpets from him.

‘I brought everyone together for SD 2.0′

However, in the interview yesterday, Deepak said there was a “tinge of truth” to what the private eye had been claiming in the SD saga.

Explaining his role, Deepak said he was responsible for facilitating the meeting between Balasubramaniam and the party that was implicated by the first SD.

“It was damage control to stop the problem… I was tasked – don’t ask me who tasked me today – with getting him to agree to sign another SD, not because of the (first) SD itself but because of the repercussions that will happen the next day if that (first) SD was not reversed,” he said.

“For today, let’s just put it this way, we assisted, we did not draft (the second SD)… it was not (drafted by) the same lawyer that appeared (at the press conference) the next day, it was (by) a completely different lawyer.

“We assisted in getting everybody together but the first lawyer was not mine, it was sent by the people who were in the group (implicated in the first SD) that we merely put in the same room,” he said.

Asked if the RM5 million incentive Balasubramaniam claimed he was offered for doing the second SD was true, Deepak replied: “Knowing Bala, he would not have done it for nothing.”

However, when pressed if the money came from him or from the parties implicated by the first SD, Deepak declined to elaborate, stating that it may be revealed in future interviews.

azlanIn July this year, Balasubramaniam, who briefly re-emerged in Kuala Lumpur, told Malaysiakini that Deepak had tried to bribe him a second time, this time with RM200,000 and an apartment at Times Square, for the private eye to produce a video recording implicating opposition figures for making him retract his second SD.

For this, Balasubramaniam claimed that an intermediary by the name of Suresh had banked in RM100,000 in advance to account of the former’s wife, but he later had the money transferred to his lawyer, asking that it be returned to Deepak.

‘No one returned any money to me’

Responding to this, Deepak said: “I read about this in the papers, about him wanting to return money to me, but I never got any money from him or his lawyer, that’s the truth.”

“I don’t know where this RM100,000 scenario came into play, because out of the blue he came and mentioned about this RM100,000 he wanted to return to me.

“Of course, if he has taken money from me and he wants to return (it to me), very good lah,” he added.

However, Deepak refused to respond further to repeated questions on Balasubramaniam’s second round of allegations, stating that it may be done in the future.

“I also want to get the Bala matter off my chest. I think as a businessman, I don’t want this cloud hanging over my head and it is best that it is resolved at the right time, (but) not tonight,” he said.

Asked if he has decided to go public on this because of a particular business dispute with the powers-that-be, he replied: “Nothing… We have done other bigger building transactions through the same group and the same people.”

However, asked if the “same people” meant Najib, Deepak nodded silently, and when queried for details, he replied: “Not today”.

This interview was jointly conducted by Fathi Aris Omar, Wong Teck Chi and Nigel Aw.