KUALA LUMPUR, 8 April 2009: Lawyers representing A Kugan’s family condemned the “raid” by police officers yesterday on the office of the pathologist who had conducted the second post-mortem on the dead detainee.
Counsel Gobind Singh Deo said the seizure of several samples collected by University Malaya Medical Centre pathologist Dr Prashand N Samberkar, who had concluded that Kugan died due to assault, by the police on 6 April was tantamount to interference in the duty of a professional.
“The police action is highly unethical although they claimed the ‘raid’ was carried after obtaining a search warrant from the court,” said Gobind at a press conference at the Legal Aid Office in Jalan Duta Court Complex, here today.
He said the second post-mortem, which was conducted on 25 Jan, was a private post-mortem and police should have sought the consent of Kugan’s family before removing the samples.
Gobind, who is also the Member of Parliament for Puchong, said on the instruction of Kugan’s parent, his co-counsel N Surendren had written to the Criminal Investigation Department Director, Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin yesterday to immediately return the samples failing which, a court order would be sought to get back the samples.
Bakri was qouted as saying the seizure was part of an ongoing investigation on the case and carried out on the instruction of the AG’s office.
Gobind also urged the Attorney-General’s office to decide on the next course of action following the finding of the independent committee of the Malaysian Medical Council on two post-mortem reports.
He said Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had assured the family members that if there were foul play on Kugan’s death, the culprits would be brought to court as soon as possible. However, after nearly four months since his death, no one had been charged.
Gobind added if the AG had decided not to charge anyone in this case, he should order an inquest into Kugan’s death where both pathologists could be called as witnesses to scrutinize their findings.
“On behalf of Kugan’s family, I’m making an open plea to the AG to order for an inquest and let the coroner decide whether there is any foul play on his death,” Gobind pointed out.
On 6 April, Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican revealed that an independent committee formed by the Health Ministry had concluded that Kugan died due to water in the lungs or acute pulmonary oedema, inflammation of heart muscles or acute myocarditis which was compounded by blunt force.
Kugan, 22, was arrested on suspicion of being involved in car theft on 15 Jan but died at the USJ 8 police station lockup five days later.
Meanwhile, Surendren said police action on 6 April had prevented Prashand from sending samples for toxicology examination at a medical centre in Australia.
He also questioned the findings of the independent committee since they had been denied from taking part in the inquiry.
“We are not sure under what provision this committee was set up where they had completely ignored the findings of Dr Prashand that Kugan died due to kidney failure,” he said.— Bernama