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Dead inmate’s friend fears for life after revealing prison drug racket

 | November 15, 2017

The fellow inmate of Sasikumar, whose death was ruled as homicide and not suicide as claimed by police, is afraid because he had named a prison guard at the inquest into Sasikumar’s death.


(Left to right) Sasikumar’s grandmother Sushilarani Ramasamy, 59; Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy; lawyer Karthigesan Shanmugam; Sasikumar’s uncle Vignesvaran Thanikasalam, 38

KUALA LUMPUR: The fellow inmate of a man whom Hindraf believes was murdered while in prison now fears for his own life.

The fellow inmate of Sasikumar Selvam, whose death in prison was ruled as homicide by a coroner yesterday, had told the coroner’s court that he knew the particular prison officer who was involved in a drug racket.

Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy said today the fellow inmate’s life was likely in danger as he had given evidence about the drugs-in-prison racket.

Hindraf had taken up the case on behalf of Sasikumar’s family.

Waythamoorthy said the Johor Bahru court had already issued an order to transfer the friend to another prison to ensure his safety.

“But we (Hindraf and the inmate) believe his life is still in danger and so we’ve written to the prison department to ensure his safety.”

This comes two days after the ruling by Johor Bahru coroner Kamarudin Kamsun that Sasikumar’s death in prison was homicide and that he had not hanged himself in his cell at the Kluang prison on May 22, 2015, as claimed by the police.

On Monday, Kamarudin found that Sasikumar had not committed suicide. He said Sasikumar’s death was caused by person or persons unknown, and that it was not a misadventure.

Hindraf, whose officials attended the hearing, said Kamarudin had left it to the police to decide if they wanted to conduct a thorough investigation to find those responsible for Sasikumar’s death.

Speaking to FMT at Menara Sentral Vista here, Waythamoorthy said Sasikumar had earlier informed investigators that a drug racket was operating within the prison walls.

“Sasikumar had informed investigators that his life was in danger only two days before he was murdered,” he said, adding: “Whenever clear evidence of drugs is found, it is swept under the carpet.”

The co-counsel helping in the inquest into Sasikumar’s death, Karthigesan Shanmugam, said Sasikumar’s friend and fellow inmate had told the court that he knew the particular prison officer who was involved in the drug racket.

“During the course of the inquest, the friend did mention the guard’s name,” he told FMT.

Apart from ensuring the friend’s safety, Hindraf is also demanding that the attorney-general initiate criminal proceedings and instruct the inspector-general of police (IGP) to conduct a thorough investigation to find Sasikumar’s murderer or murderers.

Hindraf also wants the IGP to set up a special task force for the investigations, and for the prison’s head of intelligence unit and director to be temporarily relieved of their posts to ensure there is no tampering with evidence.

Karthigesan said Sasikumar and his friend had promised to turn over a new leaf once they were out.

“They wanted to lead a straight and good life once their sentences were up.”

Sasikumar’s custodial death made the headlines in May 2015, after his grandmother lodged a police report on May 25 that she suspected foul play in the death of her grandson, who was serving a 10-year sentence for theft of rice and sardines.

The prisons department and the police issued statements at the time that an investigation had been conducted and that there was no foul play.

Waythamoorthy had, at the time, also criticised the prison sentence meted out on Sasikumar as being grossly disproportionate to the offence of stealing foodstuff.

Coroner court finds Sasikumar custodial death not suicide


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