The Prime Minister must immediately sack the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar from duty following the judgement of the Court of Appeal in the death in custody of A. Kugan. The three judges of the Court of Appeal yesterday unanimously upheld the judgment of high court on the case and found that Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and his police officers were responsible for the death of A. Kugan.
An independent investigation must be conducted on the conduct of the Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and other police officers involved in the case when Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar served as the Selangor chief of police when A. Kugan was found dead in Taipan USJ, Subang Jaya police station on 20 January 2009.
The IGP and his police officers involved in the case must be brought to criminal justice if the independent investigation is to find them criminally liable for the death of A. Kugan. This would be in line with the judgment of the Court of Appeal that attributed liability at 55% for the death of Kugan against the police, and 45% against Navindran, the sole police officer that was charged and convicted so far.
Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar was reportedly said that Kugan collapsed and died after drinking water and he has died of water in the lungs. However, the post-mortem report of the body of A. Kugan revealed that A. Kugan suffered 45 external injuries and wide range of internal injuries and his actual cause of death was due to acute renal failure attributed to blunt force trauma.
According to the judgment of the high court presided by Datuk V. T. Singham, the current IGP was not only found to have given misleading information to the public at that time, but also failed to follow the instruction of the Attorney General to investigate the case as murder rather than causing hurt, and did not direct a formal departmental inquiry on the case. The high court judge also questioned the failure of the then Selangor police chief in his duty to hold an inquest into the death of Kugan and clarify his misleading public statement.
More damning, the high court judge concluded that there were elements of a cover up on the real cause for the death of A. Kugan.
Clearly, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar was no longer fit to serve as the Inspector General of Police when high court judgment was made in 2013. However, the prime minister has failed to take the necessary action in removing the IGP at that time.
The prime minister should not fail a second time in restoring public confidence in the police force. The prime minister must show he is serious in supporting the call of the Court of Appeal for zero tolerance of custodial deaths by removing Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and establish the long overdue Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission.
An anti-torture law must be put in place to prevent police officers from taking the law into their hands and beat up and torture detainees in their custody.
Yap Swee Seng