PUTRAJAYA: The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had instructed detainee S Balamurugan, who died in custody, to be rearrested despite being aware of his poor health, a hearing was told.
The investigating officer for Balamurugan, Inspector Mohd Noor Husri Johari, said his superiors were aware of the detainee’s condition but were waiting for the CID’s feedback.
He added that both his superiors and CID had known about Balamurugan’s health as one of the officers had spoken of it in their WhatsApp group consisting of senior officers, including those from the CID.
He was responding to questions from Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) chairman Yaacob Md Sam, who is heading a hearing to determine the cause of Balamurugan’s death.
Husri was commenting on the chain of events on Feb 6 after receiving Balamurugan and another detainee, Tamilasan Karapiah, from the Bandar Baru Klang police station.
Balamurugan, Tamilasan and a juvenile named Ang were arrested that day on Jalan Belah Batu, Klang, for questioning on a criminal case.
After several hours, Balamurugan and Tamilasan were transferred to the Klang Utara district police headquarters where Husri received them a few minutes before midnight.
Husri said no one had told him about Balamurugan’s health, neither had he checked on the physical condition of the detainees despite this being the standard operating procedure.
However, he said when he saw Balamurugan sitting on the bench, he had asked him about his condition.
“He didn’t reply. He smelled of liquor,” he said.
Later that night, Ang and another detainee, Kanapathy, were also placed in the same temporary lockup at Klang Utara.
Several hours later, they were taken to the central lockup in Shah Alam and subsequently produced at the Klang Court for remand on Feb 7.
Husri said his assistant investigating officer Muhammad Nabil Abd Manaf, who was with them at the court, informed the WhatsApp group of the court’s decision to deny them remand in the case of Balamurugan.
“Nabil just told me everyone’s remand has been extended, except Balamurugan’s.”
He said one of the senior investigating officers then wrote in the WhatsApp group that Balamurugan should be taken to hospital.
However, Husri said he had to wait for a reply from CID chief ASP Norsanizam Nordin.
He said Norsanizam had privately texted him to rearrest Balamurugan for another robbery case and to seek remand the next day.
He said he then informed the investigation unit about the rearrest orders. He said he was told that a report would be made so that Balamurugan could be rearrested.
“I did not check with them if the report was made or if there was any other IO handling the rearrest case.”
He saw Balamurugan again at about 10.30pm that night in the lockup.
“I went to the lockup. (He was) motionless. I touched his feet. They were cold. He did not respond.
“I informed the CID and they told me to call Kapar clinic. A medical assistant came in an ambulance and said Balamurugan was not breathing.”
Husri was also asked why the deceased had been taken to the police station if he was released by the Klang court.
He said this was to allow Balamurugan to change from his lockup attire to casual clothes.
However, Yaacob said those under remand should be wearing the clothes in which they were arrested unless the clothes were part of the evidence.
Ivy Chong contributed to this article.