The statutory declaration by former commando Azilah Hadri, who was convicted of murdering Altantuya Shaariibuu, may assist in establishing why the late private investigator P Balasubramaniam and his family were forced to flee to India in 2008, the latter’s lawyer said.
Azilah in a statutory declaration dated October 17 had named former prime minister Najib Razak as the mastermind behind the Mongolian interpreter’s murder in 2006. Najib was then deputy prime minister and defence minister.
“This (SD) has benefited our case. It provides a clear motive and explains the reasons behind Najib wanting to silence Bala,” lawyer Americk Sidhu told The Malaysian Insight.
He now represents Bala’s family in a civil suit against Najib, his wife Rosmah Mansor and others.
The family had twice tried to sue Najib for causing trauma and loss due to their exile to India from 2008 to 2013.
The late private eye was hired by Najib’s then aide, Abdul Razak Baginda, to tail the Mongolian woman before her disappearance. Her murder, of which Azilah and fellow commando Sirul Azhar Umar were convicted, took place between the night of October 19 and the early hours of October 20, 2006.
Razak was charged with abetting the murder but was acquitted without having to enter his defence.
Bala was a prime witness in Altantuya’s murder trial. He also made a statutory declaration dated July 1, 2008, in which he alleged that both Najib and Razak had close links with Altantuya.
He said Altantuya had told him that Razak married her in Korea and bought her a house. She had wanted money from him to pay for her mother’s medical treatment.
Bala also said in his declaration that Razak told him how it was Najib who introduced Altantuya to him (Razak) in Singapore, and that he (Najib) had had sexual relations with her.
Najib has consistently denied knowing or meeting Altantuya.
However, Bala retracted his first statutory declaration with a second one, less than 24 hours after giving a press conference on the first. In his second declaration, he absolved Najib from any of the allegations he had made.
Bala immediately disappeared with his family after, ending up in Chennai where he spent most of the next five years.
When the family returned to Malaysia in early 2013, Bala made another U-turn, giving a press conference in February that year where he swore on a holy Hindu book that everything in his first statutory declaration was true.
He died of a heart attack in March 2013, a few weeks after the family’s return to Malaysia.
In 2014, Bala’s widow Santamil Selvi and her three children filed a claim against nine defendants for damages for their loss and trauma as a result of being forced to flee Malaysia. Two of the defendants were Najib and Rosmah.
Bala’s family maintains they were pressured to leave the country by the concerted actions of all the defendants in the suit, including Najib’s brothers Johari and Nazim, his lawyers and businessman Deepak Jaikishan, who was allegedly the go-between Najib and Bala.
Deepak has since admitted his role in the alleged conspiracy and has confirmed the involvement of all the other defendants.
“Why was Najib so intent of getting rid of Bala? If Najib had nothing to hide, he would not have bothered with Bala,” Americk told The Malaysian Insight.
“The knee-jerk reaction in getting rid of Bala immediately after he released the first statutory declaration seems to support the fact that perhaps Najib’s involvement was actually deeper, as Azilah has stated.
“Bala had insinuated Najib’s involvement, although no specific connection was made. With the emergence of Azilah’s SD, the dots have now been connected and this explains why Najib needed to silence Bala,” Americk added.
Santamil’s case is currently before the Federal Court, which is deciding a motion for leave to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal allowing the applications of eight of the defendants, to have the case struck out against them.
Deepak is the only defendant left in Santamil’s suit as he did not apply to strike out the case.
He has now filed applications to bring in all other defendants who succeeded in having the case struck out against them, as third parties for an indemnity and contribution. – TMI