Bid to revoke suit by PI Bala’s widow: Court to rule on Jan 30


KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will rule on Jan 30 applications by Prime Minister Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor and six others to strike out a suit brought by the widow of private investigator P Balasubramaniam, whose family was forced into exile in 2008.

Lawyer Gopal Sri Ram said Justice Hue Siew Kheng fixed the date after she heard submissions in chambers.

Sri Ram said he told the judge that A Santamil Selvi’s suit should go for hearing as there were numerous triable issues and her earlier suit against the eight defendants was different.

“The current suit is a result of she and the family suffering intentional harm after they were forced to leave Malaysia. The earlier action was for tort of conspiracy,” Sri Ram said.

However, lawyers representing the defendants took a common stand that the widow’s suit should be annulled as she was out of time to file the present action.

Sri Ram said lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who is appearing for businessman Deepak Jaikishan, had also filed a separate application to strike out Santamil’s suit.

On Nov 17, Santamil had applied to strike out Deepak’s second defence and to disqualify Shafee from representing Deepak.

The reason was that Deepak, who was unrepresented then, had filed his first defence on Oct 25 and had served the documents on the widow’s earlier lawyer, Americk Sidhu.

Santamil also alleged that Shafee had not been voluntarily retained by Deepak to represent the businessman’s interests.

No dates have been fixed to hear these matters.

Santamil and her children have named Najib, Rosmah, Najib’s brothers Mohd Nazim and Johari, lawyers Sunil Abraham, Cecil Abraham, Arunampalam Mariampillai, commissioner for oaths Zainal Abidin Muhayat and Deepak as parties to her action.

Santamil, who is also acting for the estate of Balasubramaniam, filed the action in August for suffering intentional harm as a result of their exile in India.

She said the defendants had deprived her 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 to have been deprived of a home in familiar surroundings.

Santamil, 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.

In 2014, the widow had filed a tort of conspiracy suit against the same defendants but it was struck out as she did not have a letter of administration from the court to sue on behalf of her late husband’s estate.

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.

The family said 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 had been 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 had hired him to monitor Altantuya before her disappearance.