LONDON, July 7 – Private detective P. Balasubramaniam today dropped a bombshell by insisting that his former client Abdul Razak Baginda was not involved in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shariibuu.
Lawyers Americk Sidhu and Manjeet Singh Dhillon flank private detective P. Balasubramaniam, in London. – Picture by Danny Lim
Although Abdul Razak, a close associate of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was acquitted of the crime, certain quarters, especially those in the opposition, continue to assert that he is culpable.
“As far as I am concerned, Razak is a scapegoat. He has got nothing to do with the murder,” said the former Special Branch detective of his then client.
Balasubramaniam, who has been living in India since releasing statutory declarations on the murder, reasoned that there was no reason for Abdul Razak, on the night of Oct 19, 2006, to hire him until Oct 26, 2006, if he knew that Shariibuu would be murdered that night.
“Yes, he was financing her and he had a relationship with her, but as far as I am concerned, he is innocent. In fact, my testimony in court saved him,” he added.
Balasubramaniam had first released a statutory declaration in 2008 that detailed various links to Najib including the three officers who were part of the then deputy prime minister’s security detail having picked up Shariibuu on the night of her death – two of whom, chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar were sentenced to death for the crime.
Although, he then released a second declaration the next day removing all links to Najib, he has since gone on record stating that he did so under duress and was offered RM5 million to change his stance by Najib’s brother, Datuk Mohamed Nazim Razak.
He has also identified another man who drove past Abdul Razak’s house on the night of the murder as Datuk Nasir Safar, an aide of Najib’s who has since been sacked after he made derogatory remarks about Malaysian Chinese and Indians in a public event.
In a press conference here today, Balasubramaniam and his lawyers expressed disappointment that an interview with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) scheduled for the past two days had been cancelled as they were eager to stress the “conspiracy web” that seemed to centre on Najib.
“What we had intended, if MACC had turned up, was for Bala to highlight the series of events that are a conspiracy web at the highest level to keep out references to Najib,” said Manjeet Singh Dhillon.
“Why did they miss a golden opportunity? Because it is dangerous to people who hold the reins of power,” said Americk Sidhu.
They stressed that they have never stated that Balasubramaniam would not appear in court, so long as the right person was being tried. As such, the reason given by MACC, on the advice of the Attorney-General’s office, that a statement recorded overseas was not useful, was flimsy.
“Never in theory nor practice, do you make that decision beforehand. You collect all statements and investigate and then you decide on witnesses,” said Manjeet.
Balasubramaniam also confirmed that he would be recording his statement in Paris on Monday to French authorities who are investigating the possibility of unlawful practices with regards to commissions paid – alleged to be RM500 million – in the purchase of Scorpene submarines by the Malaysian government.
Shariibuu’s alleged involvement in the deal is as a translator, for which she demanded US$500,000 for her services.
Balasubramaniam also added that even though he has been given up to RM750,000 by Deepak Jaikrishnan, a carpet dealer who is said to be a close associate of Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, he has been surviving in India on his own funds.
“I am from South India. My father left me and his two daughters property there after he passed away. I am self-sufficient,” he said to dispel reports that he has been funded by opposition figures.