Six men, including a politician, were charged at the Magistrate’s Court in Petaling Jaya over the abduction of a businessman who was later found dead in Rawang.
Five of them — Azhari Shahrom Shaihmi, 56; Mohd Durai Abdullah, 52; Sheikh Ismail Sheikh Hassan, 26; N Vickneswarar, 28, and a Bangladeshi, Kasi Nasrul, 42 — nodded after the charges were read out separately to them before Magistrate Mohamad Ikhwan Mohd Nasir on Thursday (July 9).
No pleas were recorded from the accused who were chained together when they arrived at 9.40am at the court premises before they were ushered into the courtroom.
The men are accused of abducting the deceased, Datuk Seri R Arumugam, 55, who was a property developer, with the intent of holding the victim to a ransom of S$50mil (RM153mil) ransom.
The offence is said to have been committed in Taman Kejiranan Central Spine, Jalan Margosa, Bandar Sri Damansara at 10.30am on June 10.
The offence, under Section 3 of the Kidnapping Act 1961, carries a mandatory death penalty or life imprisonment, and those found guilty can also be whipped if sentenced to imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the sixth man, Datuk K Ramachandran, is accused of abetting the five in the crime at the same time and place.
Ramachandran is a former PKR candidate for the Batang Kali state seat during the 13th General Election.
He was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 3 of the Kidnapping Act 1961, and faces the mandatory death penalty or life imprisonment, and can also be whipped if sentenced to jail.
Deputy public prosecutor Hakim Amir Abdul Hamid did not offer bail, saying it was a non-bailable offence.
The court fixed Aug 27 for mention.
Lawyer R Sivaraj represented Ramachandran, while lawyer Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent held a watching brief for the victim’s family.
The other five were not represented.
On June 27, Selangor CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Fadzil Ahmat said the body of the businessman was discovered in the bushes along Jalan Rawang Bestari Jaya at about 9am.
The victim’s body was already decomposing when it was discovered.
A source close to the investigation said the mastermind and the victim had been friends and had business dealings together over the years.
“Recently, they had a ‘misunderstanding’ involving financial matters.
“This is most likely the reason behind the victim’s kidnapping and subsequent death,” the source said.