Americk Singh Sidhu (left) and PKR VP Sivarasa Rasiah
PETALING JAYA, July 4 – Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah said a crime must have caused private investigator P. Balasubramaniam to retract the statutory statement he made public yesterday.
“I am very troubled that last night, one way or another, and true to Mr Bala’s concerns, another crime was committed. The crime was something which caused Mr Bala this morning to retract the statements he made on Tuesday 1st July, 2008,” said Sivarasa at a press conference in the PKR headquarters here late this afternoon.
“In particular, we have taken notice that line by line the specific statements that were revised in Bala’s new statements have selectively removed those which specifically implicate the Deputy Prime Minister by name.”This sorry episode confirms again what Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday — that there is a consistent pattern of manipulation of the criminal justice system in this country,” he added.
Also present at the press conference, to clear the subsequent were Americk Singh Sidhu, Balasubramaniam’s first counsel who had been left out of his client’s morning press conference, and Americk’s own legal counsel, Manjeet Singh Dillon.
Balasubramaniam had brought along another lawyer, Arulampalam Mariam Pillai, to the press conference this morning.
Americk clarified that he had not been aware of the new statutory declaration made by Balasubramaniam until he received several phone calls from the media around 9am. His last conversation with Balasubramaniam had been yesterday evening in his office where he had brought the latter after the press conference.
He also reported that Balasubramaniam was contacted on his phone by an “ASP Tonny” while in his office. ASP Tonny had been one of the police personnel named in Balasubramaniam’s statutory declarations. The conversation between the two were apparently “lively, jovial and friendly”, Americk said, and added that he had no reason to suspect that anything untoward would befall his client when Balasubramaniam went to meet the policeman that same evening.
However, Sivarasa added that he believed Balasubramaniam had been pressured to change his story after yesterday’s disclosure.
“Who would have a motive to send Mr Bala to make such damaging allegations against the police, the AG’s Chamber and Datuk Seri Najib with the idea that he would then withdraw it the next day to attempt to embarrass us?
“Who however would have a motive to intimidate Mr Bala last night to retract his statement immediately? Obviously, from the contents of his first statutory declaration, a number of people would have that interest,” said Sivarasa.
When asked if he was referring specifically to the deputy prime minister himself, Sivarasa said, “I can’t say that as a fact and we don’t… we can only make an inference.”
But for now, the key issue at hand, as Sivarasa pointed out is which of these two statutory declarations represents the truth?