Rolling out a dirty carpet

A carpet trader has reignited a firestorm with his promise to reveal more dirt about the behind-the-scene dealings surrounding the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Free Malaysia Today

Call it tragedy, comedy or tragicomedy, the Deepak drama has been unfolding on the national stage to the entertainment or horror of the audience. Here is a cast of characters that makes interesting reading for their role – direct or indirect – in a story that refuses to fade from national memory. It is a dark tale of murder, intrigue, conspiracy, threats, money – all the baser instincts that drive humans to commit deeds most foul.

There is carpet trader Deepak Jaikishan, the bit player, who, seemingly stricken by conscience, dusted off the cover on Altantuya Shaariibuu and revealed his role in this sordid affair. According to his own admission, he was the one who persuaded private investigator P Balasubramaniam to retract his first statutory declaration about the murdered Mongolian national. He claimed he did it “on the behest of a female friend” and to protect the “interests of Najib Tun Razak”. His confession whipped up a storm and threw the spotlight again on the scene of infamy.

Balasubramaniam had made a second declaration which reversed the first one, which meant letting Najib off the hook. Najib, then the deputy prime minister, even swore on the Quran at a mosque that he did not know the Mongolian woman and had nothing to do with her murder. His political career emerged unscathed from the storm swirling around him and he went on to become the most powerful man in the country.

A statutory declaration is a legal document and is similar to a statement made under oath. What is written in the document is as good as speaking the truth. Balasubramaniam’s first declaration contained the most explosive revelation. In it, he implicated Najib in the murder of Altantuya, a tragic figure in the play. Deepak’s admission of his involvement reopens the case because it implies that Najib is not innocent.

The link to the murder meant that Najib knew the victim. Najib was the defence minister at the time when Malaysia was negotiating to purchase two French submarines. Altantuya, who was said to be working as a French translator, came onto the stage to allegedly help the Malaysian government buy the submarines worth some RM3.4 billion. She was reportedly playing the role of a broker with the French company for Abdul Razak Baginda, the political analyst, and Najib’s close friend.

Deep suspicion

The Mongolian woman was supposed to pocket a hefty RM540 million in commission. She returned to Malaysia to allegedly hound Abdul Razak – her lover – for payment. Balasubramanaim was then hired by Abdul Razak to keep tabs on Altantuya’s movements when she was in Kuala Lumpur. But she met a horrible death – blown to smithereens in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam. Who murdered her? This is what Deepak wants to know – and this is also what the whole country wants to know.

Although two former policemen, once the bodyguards of Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, were found guilty of the heinous crime and were sentenced to death, the verdict did nothing to erase the deep suspicion surrounding the circumstances of Altantuya’s death. What possible motive could have driven the two cops, who never knew Altantuya in all their born days, to snuff out her life in such a cruel manner? Abdul Razak, who was charged with abetting them, was let off without his defence being called but the nagging question remains: was there a conspiracy to cover up the blood stain?