Police to blame for Balamurugan’s death, commission confirms

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PUTRAJAYA: The commission tasked with overseeing the police force today confirmed that the police were responsible for the death of S Balamurugan, who died under police custody in February last year.

The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) said police had also failed to follow an order by the Magistrate’s Court to release Balamurugan, after a request to remand him was rejected.

“It is a serious misconduct not to follow the court’s ruling,” EAIC chief A Aziz A Rahim told reporters today.

The remand was rejected due to Balamurugan’s poor health condition.

The court had also asked the police officers in charge of investigating Balamurugan to get immediate medical treatment for him.

According to the EAIC, Balamurugan’s death was due to coronary artery disease with multiple blunt force injuries. It said this was confirmed by pathologists from Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital and Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

Aziz said the EAIC also found that standard operating procedures were ignored by police officers, adding that the attorney-general should bring criminal charges against them.

The commission said two policemen identified as “SP28” and “SP46” had abused their powers by ordering for Balamurugan to be rearrested without any justification.

Balamurugan was detained on Feb 6 and taken to the Klang Utara district police headquarters.

The following day, while at the Klang Magistrate’s Court awaiting his remand hearing, Balamurugan told his family and lawyer that he had been beaten by the police in the lock-up, and complained of bleeding and difficulty in breathing.

On Feb 8, about 6am, two policemen arrived at Balamurugan’s house and informed his wife, Natthanan Yoochomsok, 38, that her husband had died.

His younger brother, S Balraj, went to Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang to identify the body and was shocked to see dried blood on his face. However, he was not allowed to examine the whole body.

Pathologists said then that Balamurugan died of heart failure.

The EAIC held a public hearing into his case, after a second post-mortem showed he had suffered “multiple beatings” while in custody.

In October, police inspector Mohaneswaran Thiagarajah, 31, claimed trial to a charge of causing hurt to Balamurugan.

According to the charge sheet, Mohaneswaran allegedly injured Balamurugan, 44, while trying to force him to admit to an offence under Section 395/397 of the Penal Code.