Court to rule if Najib, 8 others can delay filing defence

A-Santamil-Selvi

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor and seven others will know on Oct 11 whether they will be given a stay from filing their defence in response to a suit filed by the widow of private investigator P Balasubramaniam.

Last month, A Santamil Selvi, who is also acting for the estate of Balasubramaniam and their minor child, filed the action for suffering intentional harm as a result of their exile in India.

The prime minister and the other defendants want to annul the suit but do not want to file their defence until the striking-out application is decided.

Justice Hue Siew Kheng fixed the date after hearing submissions in chambers from counsel for the defendants. Lawyer Gopal Sri Ram and Americk Sidhu appeared for Santhamil Selvi.

The parties had earlier filed their written submissions and only made oral summing up before Hue.

Details of their arguments were not available.

Others named as defendants are Najib’s brothers Ahmad Johari and Mohd Nazim, lawyers Cecil Abraham, Sunil Abraham and Arunampalam Mariampillai, commissioner of oaths Zainal Abidin Muhayat and businessman Deepak Jaikishan.

Santamil Selvi said the defendants deprived the family of a normal life, and caused them to suffer financial and non-financial losses.

They claim to have suffered trauma and mental anguish caused by the defendants and were deprived of a home in familiar surroundings.

Santamil Selvi, together with her two children, Kishen and Menaga, are seeking damages with interest for losses suffered from July 2008 as a result of their five-year displacement.

Balasubramaniam, who was better known as PI Bala, was previously embroiled in a controversy over his two conflicting statutory declarations (SD) in the high-profile 2006 murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

In the present suit, the family said the defendants had caused Balasubramaniam’s second SD to be drafted without his instruction and further caused him to sign it under threat and inducement.

He was forced to leave Malaysia for India in a hurry after signing the second SD in July 2008, a day after the first was released.

The second SD dated July 4, 2008 is supposed to have cleared Najib of any involvement in the case.

Balasubramaniam, in the second SD, said he wished to retract the entire contents of his first SD dated July 1, as it was made under duress.

On July 3, 2008, Balasubramaniam told a packed press conference, organised by PKR, that the contents of the first SD, which implicated Najib and several others in the murder of Altantuya, were true.

Balasubramaniam, a key witness in the Altantuya trial, died of a heart attack on March 15, 2013, weeks after returning from India.

He had worked for political analyst and Najib associate Abdul Razak Baginda, who hired him to monitor Altantuya before her disappearance.