Monday, March 14, 2016

Lawyer to PI Bala’s widow in the dark over status of RM2 million suit

Lawyer Americk Sidhu will write to A. Santamil Selvi, the widow of a key witness in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial, whether to proceed with her suit over losses suffered by her family following their five-year exile. "Let me get her instructions first. I need to clarify with her. I cannot say anything more," he told The Malaysian Insider. It is unclear whether Americk is seeking a confirmation from Santamil to retain him as counsel or stop pursuing the suit filed in July 2014. The lawyer said this in response to allegations made by Santamil against him in a statement read out during a press conference in Petaling Jaya on Saturday. Santamil said Americk, Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah, Kapar MP G. Manivanan promised financial assistance to pay for her children's education provided she granted an interview with an Australian television crew on her husband's role in Altantuya's murder in 2006. She claimed the interview would be broadcast at an election and to influence the public about Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, allegedly linked with the Mongolian's murder. Santamil also read out her apology in the office of Persatuan Minda dan Sosial Prihatin (PMSP) activist, Ramesh Rao Naidu, but ran off after she was unable to answer questions about the statement. Santamil also blamed PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for failing to help her family after the death of her husband P. Balasubramaniam in 2013. Ramesh was to help her obtain RM20,000 for her children's education if she agreed to hold the press conference. However, she said her husband's statutory declaration linking Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, was true. On December 18, a three-man Court of Appeal bench chaired by Vernon Ong Lam Kiat ruled that Santamil's RM2 million suit could be filed in her personal capacity. However, the defendant, carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan filed an appeal in the Federal Court to overturn the ruling, which ordered a trial to determine the veracity of Santamil's claim. The apex court has fixed a case management on March 25. Santamil is suing Deepak over his role with seven others in sending her family into exile to India for five years from 2008. Balasubramaniam died of a heart attack on March 15, 2013, soon after his return from India. The suit would expose the roles of these people in sending Santamil's family into exile following controversies surrounding two statutory declarations by Balasubramaniam involving Altantuya and Najib. This included why Balasubramaniam was forced to retract his first sworn statement highlighting Najib's alleged involvement with Altantuya, and why he and his family were forced to leave the country. High Court judge Datuk Hasnah Mohamed Hashim in December 2014 allowed an application by Najib, Rosmah, the prime minister's brothers Datuk Johari and Datuk Nazim, senior lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham, his son Sunil Abraham, commissioner for oaths Zainal Abidin Muhayat and lawyer M. Arulampalam to strike out the widow's suit. Hasnah said Santamil lacked the capacity to file for action on behalf of her husband's estate and her pleadings were not according to law. Both the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court upheld the High Court decision on the grounds that Santamil's notice of appeal was defective. However, Deepak was not a respondent in Santamil's appeal in the Court of Appeal. In the suit, the family said the defendants, including Deepak, caused Balasubramaniam's second statutory declaration to be drafted without instructions from him and further caused him to sign it "under threat and inducement". Balasubramaniam and his family left Malaysia after he signed the second statutory declaration in 2008 to denounce the first one made a day earlier. The second statement cleared Najib of any involvement in the case. – March 14, 2016.]]>

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