Court rejects request to report to ICA weekly instead of daily

Court rejects request to report to ICA weekly instead of daily
Arun Kaliamurthy (centre), his father (right), and lawyer M. Ravi (left) at the Subordinate Courts last Friday. Arun had been told to report to the ICA every day as part of his bail conditions. Besides him, only one other accused person allegedly involved in the riot has made bail.

SINGAPORE - The project manager accused of taking part in the Dec 8 Little India riot will still have to report to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority daily, the court heard on Monday.

Arun Kaliamurthy, 28, an Indian national who was in Singapore as a tourist on a social visit pass when the riot occurred, last Friday asked the court to change ICA's "unilateral decision" to have him report to the authority every day to once a week.

He made the request through his lawyer, Mr M. Ravi, who had said having Arun report to the ICA once a week would be in line with court-ordered bail conditions.

But Deputy Public Prosecutor John Lu told the court on Monday that as controller of immigration, "ICA has the power to impose whatever conditions they want when they issue a Special Pass".

He was referring to the pass that was given to Arun after his social visit pass was cancelled.

"That's an executive decision, and unfortunately this court has no power to review that decision," said DPP Lu.

In reply, Mr Ravi said that his client was being "unequally treated", given that the other accused rioters continue to enjoy the benefits of their work permits.

Besides Arun, only one other accused person allegedly involved in the riot has made bail.

Last Friday, tiler Chinnathambi Malesan, 22, was bailed out by his employer and is understood to be back at work.

"The fact that ICA is imposing this condition on my client for daily reporting is oppressive," said Mr Ravi.

He added that he intends to file a judicial review on the matter.

The court told Mr Ravi that the issue of reporting conditions should be taken up with the ICA directly.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Monday after the proceedings ended, Arun, who was accompanied by his parents and family, said it was unreasonable and discriminatory to be required to report to the ICA daily, given that no such requirement was made of the 24 other accused persons.

An ICA spokesman said that as his social pass has expired, Arun was issued a Special Pass to facilitate his stay here to attend court.

"As the accused was involved in a serious case of public disorder, the Controller of Immigration has assessed that a daily reporting regime would enable ICA to better monitor his status in Singapore for security reasons," he said.

"The same conditions may apply to anyone else in the group of 25 who ceases to have a valid permit to stay in Singapore and requires a Special Pass."

Arun will be back in court on Jan 29 next year for a pre-trial conference.

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