The intervening period between the decision of the High Court convicting Azilah and Sirul, and the eventual appeal against their convictions (heard in 2013), saw interesting developments take place, in more ways than one.
In November 2009, Bala came out of hiding and informed the world of the manner in which he was picked up and thrown out of the country for releasing SD1 in July 2008. At the same time, he identified and named individuals who attended to and assisted in, his departure from our fair shores. RPK eagerly published all this information on his website, Malaysia Today, and stuck with the story like a dog with a bone. The recorded interview was uploaded onto YouTube and can be viewed here:
Bala said he was issued a thinly veiled threat to leave the country and to follow Deepak’s instructions if he loved his family. In other words, shut up and get out or your family’s safety and well-being cannot be guaranteed. Bala accused Najib’s brother, Nazim, of making this threat directly to him, late in the night of the 3 July 2008 at The Curve in Damansara.
Once these revelations had been made in that recorded interview in Singapore, a report was lodged with the MACC. An investigation file was opened and witnesses summoned to attend for the purposes of recording their statements.
The MACC become involved
Bala’s lawyers (photo) wrote to the MACC offering assistance. They invited the MACC to record Bala’s statement anywhere in the world, except Malaysia. The MACC agreed, and London in July 2010 was chosen as the mutually acceptable venue and date. The MACC team were excited. A free trip to London. Everyone, including Bala, flew in from different parts of the world and congregated at the Holiday Villa Hotel, Bayswater, anticipating the arrival of the MACC team whilst enjoying the delights of their famous ice kacang.
Much to the MACC officer’s dismay, the plan was aborted at the very last moment. The AG, Gani Patail told them not to go.
So, what they did instead was to send, by courier to London, a Notice issued under the provisions of section 30(1)(c) of the MACC Act requiring Bala to furnish them with a statement in writing, made on oath or affirmation, answering questions they had posed. This statement was feverishly prepared on the spot in London, notarised, flown back to Kuala Lumpur and delivered by hand to Abdul Rahman Bachok, the officer in charge, at their headquarters in Putrajaya, by Bala’s lawyers on the 22 July 2010.
Mr Bachok is a decent and dedicated officer. He tried his best to do what was right but he was faced with a formidable headwind from certain parties who did not want him to. The investigations ground to a halt and the matter eventually thrown out by their ‘Operations Review Panel’, a rather awkward committee which was supposed to be comprised of upstanding members of society, one of whom was coincidentally, the lawyer implicated in drafting the infamous SD2.
Everyone now knows Deepak, (photo) the ‘carpet man’, had, on his own admission, been delegated the task of organising and executing the plan to evacuate Bala and his family in July 2008, by Najib and Rosmah. He was also tasked with making sure the necessary payments promised were attended to. Deepak did as he was told in return for, and to maintain, the patronage he was accustomed to receiving from the first couple. Unfortunately for Deepak, Bala started to become a pest and difficult to control.
Immediately the ‘Singapore tapes’ were revealed in November 2009, the money trail from Deepak to Bala dried up. Cheques issued by Deepak bounced and probably because he began receiving much flak from his ‘instructors’ for screwing up.
The second bribery attempt
Matters came to a head in April 2011. This was just before the Sarawak State elections. Deepak was instructed by ‘Big Mama’ to get Bala to recant his SD1 and to blame the opposition and certain individuals for putting him up to it. The plan was less than subtle. Bala was to prepare an audio-visual recording in which he, Bala, was to read out from a grammatically horrible prepared script while filming himself on his mobile phone. This recording was then to be transmitted to Deepak for airing on TV3 immediately thereafter.
For his effort Bala was promised a cash payment of RM100,000 and an apartment at Berjaya Times Square. Bala, used to false promises, demanded an up-front payment, which was surprisingly attended to with lightning speed. Even the Sales and Purchase Agreement in his wife’s name was sent to Chennai for her execution.
Sometimes even the best laid out plans don’t quite work out as expected. Unfortunately for Deepak, Bala pulled out of the deal at the very last moment. All this was pre-planned on the advice of his lawyers (photo), who subsequently emailed Deepak and asked how he would like the RM100,000 refunded. No response was ever received, despite a reminder.
Deepak’s fallout with Rosmah
Deepak and his masters were hopping mad. Deepak’s wrath manifested in an intense and unusual barrage of expletives accusing Bala of transcendental sodomy. He was designated persona non grata by the first couple who made sure his business dealings began to go belly-up after that. To add insult to injury, Deepak’s banks were instructed to call in loans and the IRD went after his blood for unpaid taxes, allegedly owed by Rosmah, not Deepak.
Six lorries and 40-50 officers of a ‘government statutory body’ turned up at Deepak’s factory, house and business premises and carted away all documents on the pretext of an ‘official’ raid. It is believed what they were really looking for was incriminating evidence which would show details of all the jewellery purchases Deepak had made as gifts for Rosmah and the transfers of money made on her behalf to foreign banks.
Deepak goes on the offensive with astonishing revelations
With the pressure mounting, Deepak snapped and retaliated. At the end of 2012, he began making public revelations of his relationship with Najib and Rosmah. These were first published by Malaysiakini on the 27 November 2012 in an exclusive series of interviews with him. What he said was very damning. Deepak affirmed what Bala had said about the way in which he and his family were made to leave Malaysia in July 2008, but added extra information on what went on behind the scenes.
Deepak named the lawyers involved in preparing SD2 on the instructions of Najib, albeit in a pathetically designed cryptic manner, which left no doubt who they were.
He went on to give further interviews to the alternative press in which he unequivocally blamed Najib and Rosmah for a number of indiscretions including “being involved in the murder of Altantuya” which he said was “pure fact” because he was involved in the case and knows that. (MT 13.12.2012).
Najib’s response was that Deepak was not a “credible person”. Perhaps if Deepak had given his interviews in a temple he would have been.
AMERICK SIDHU is a senior lawyer representing A Santamil Selvi, widow of private investigator P Balasubramaniam, in her lawsuit against former premier Najib Abdul Razak and a number of others over an alleged conspiracy linked to the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.
The views expressed here are those of the author