21 June 2013

In a stunning turn of events, the police inspector who was to be charged for the death of detainee N. Dhamendran has gone missing. 

Police suspect he is still in the country and have launched a manhunt. 

The inspector from the Kuala Lumpur serious crimes division has not returned from Sarawak, after taking leave to attend the Gawai festival there three weeks ago. This was confirmed to The Malaysian Insider by Federal CID director Datuk Hadi Ho Abdullah. He added: "We are trying to trace his whereabouts." 

There has been rising distress about deaths in police custody, leading to national interest in the case of detainee N. Dhamendran’s death. 

The police’s own statistics say there were 122 deaths in custody in the 10 years up to 2010. But opposition party Pakatan Rakyat’s vice-president N. Surendran said the actual figure was much higher. He claimed there were 211 such deaths in the last two-and-a-half years alone. 

Three of the missing inspector's juniors have been charged with murder for the same case. They are Sergeant Jaffri Jaafar, 44, and Corporals Mohd Nahar Abd Rahman, 45, and Mohd Haswadi Zamri Shaari, 32. 

A senior police source told The Malaysian Insider that the inspector and his three juniors had been given leave to remove them from the spotlight. 

"At that time, the investigations into Dhamendran's death had just begun and the leave was granted in good faith," the source said. "When the probe had been completed, and when it was ascertained that it was murder, the four were contacted and told to return from their leave. The three officers returned but not the Inspector." 

The inspector's leave ended two Mondays ago, on June 13, but he did not report in. His handphone went unanswered. His girlfriend told the police she had no clue where he was. 

Though the inspector and the three were initially reassigned to desk duties, a public outcry forced the Home Ministry to suspend the four from duties. 

Dhamendran's case re-ignited the call for the setting up of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission, something the police have not welcomed. 

The 32-year-old was a truck driver who was arrested on May 11 in connection with a murder where firearms were allegedly used. He had already been detained for 10 days when he was found in his cell in police HQ with troubled breathing. At first police said he died of breathing difficulties but a postmortem revealed that he had been beaten to death. The missing cop was the investigating officer. 

Immediately after Dhamendran's case, three other deaths in custody were reported, involving two Malaysians and a Japanese. They were N. Karuna Nithi, R. Ramesh Jamesh and Nobuhiro Matsushita. – June 21, 2013.


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