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Man dies in custody, ‘marks on body’

 | June 2, 2013

The victim, who was about to be bailed out tomorrow, died suddenly last night at the Tampin district police headquarters.


SEREMBAN: A 42-year-old former engineer has suddenly died while in police custody in Tampin last night.

The family of P Karuna Nithi from Gemencheh, Tampin, was informed by a police personnel at about 9.45pm last night that he has died suddenly in Tampin district police headquarters.

He was found unconscious by policemen on duty at about 6.30pm yesterday and was pronounced death by paramedics from the Tampin hospital who were called to the scene.

His body was then sent to Hospital Tuanku Jaafar (Seremban General Hospital) last night for post mortem.

Negeri Sembilan police chief Osman Salleh told a press conference later today that there were no external injuries to Karuna. However he said the cause of the death would only be determined after the post mortem.

According to Karuna’s brother Elam, the former was arrested on May 29 following a misunderstanding with his wife. Karuna and his wife have two children, aged 13 and 15.

He was then remanded for three day before being charged at the Tampin magistrate’s court on May 31.

“He claimed trial and was allowed bail of RM4,000. The family was unable to raise the money immediately, so he was taken back to be remanded at the Tampin district police headquarters,” Elam told FMT.

“We were supposed to pay the bail amount tomorrow (Monday) morning to secure his release but last night we received a call about his sudden death,” he said.

The family does not know the cause of Karuna’s death yet.

However they claimed that they found blood at the back of Karuna’s head and that there were marks on his left arm.

Former Kapar MP S Manikavasagam is with the family to offer support.

Breach of procedure?

On related matter, Negeri Sembilan MIC chief S Rajagopalu questioned as to why Karuna was sent back to be remanded at the Tampin district police headquarters when he should have been sent to prison pending the payment of bail money.

“The procedure is that the police should have sent Karuna to a prison, not police lock up, while awaiting his family to raise bail money. So who’s negligence is this, the court or the police?” asked Rajagopalu.

He added that the deceased’s brother, P Tamilanban, Gedduk MIC branch leader, was mulling legal action against the police on the matter.

Rajagopalu later urged the government to set up a royal commission of inquiry to investigate all death in custody cases as it was becoming increasingly rampant.

“It’s also time for the government to establish the IPCMC as well,” he said.

Karuna’s sudden death while in police custody comes just weeks after two other cases which had reignited calls for the setting up of the Independent Police Misconduct and Complaints Commission to monitor the police.

R Jamesh Ramesh, 40, was found dead in a police lock up at the Penang police headquarters on May 26, after being detained for a drug offence.

Prior to Jamesh’s death, the nation was rocked by the death of N Dhamendran, 32, at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters on May 21.

In response, the police has set up a special committee headed by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar to curb incidents involving deaths in police lock ups.

Human Rights Party pro-tem secretary general P Uthayakumar meanwhile noted that this was the third custodial death in 11 days, all involving Indians.

He said that Pakatan Rakyat top leaders must start making an issue out of these custodial deaths, including to propose for an emergency motion when parliament convenes on June 24.

Pakatan to discuss IPCMC

The Pakatan Rakyat leadership council meanwhile will meet in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to discuss if Pakatan MPs should press for the establishment of IPCMC when the 13th parliament opens on June 24.

DAP parliamentary leader and MP for Gelang Patah Lim Kit Siang said that with Pakatan’s 89 MPs in the House, it would need the support of at least 23 BN MPs to call for the establishment of the IPCMC.

He said that since MIC leaders had also called for the establishment of IPCMC in the face of the recent custodial deaths, would the party’s four MPs support the Pakatan call for the setting up of the IPCMC in parliament.

“Is this the official stand of the MIC and the four MIC MPs? If so, is it possible to get another 19 BN MPs to support the passage of an IPCMC Bill in the 13th Parliament?” asked Lim.


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