Cops allegedly tried to cover up inmate's death with fabricated entries

PUTRAJAYA - Police officers fabricated lock-up diary entries to cover up the death of detainee N. Dharmendran (pic), whose ears were stapled while alive and body later found with 52 bruises, ruled the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC).

Presenting its report to the media yesterday, EAIC chairman Datuk Yaacob Md Sam described the stapler finding as "shocking".

"This finding was a shock to us (the commission). There were two staples found embedded in the deceased's ears - one on the right ear and the other on the left ear, causing puncture wounds.

"The pathologist, who conducted the post-mortem, confirmed that his ears were stapled while he was alive, estimated between two to three days prior to the post mortem on May 22, 2013," said Yaacob.

During the public hearing, he said a witness had suggested that the staples could have been accidentally lodged in the ears after death during the wrapping of the body.

Yaacob said this was, however, dismissed by the commission as the pathologist confirmed that blood was found on the stapler wounds, which meant it was inflicted while Dharmendran was alive.

In the report, the commission ruled that Dharmendran's death had resulted from "the use of physical force by the police", with the post-mortem having revealed the cause to be "diffuse soft tissue injuries due to multiple blunt force trauma".

Post-mortem results, said the report, revealed that Dharmendran had 52 bruises caused by a blunt force object, leading to "acute massive loss of blood" and subsequently, "hypovolemic shock".

The EAIC also found the last six entries in the lock-up diary of the Serious Crimes Division (D9) of the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters (IPK KL) to be false.

Two entries in the diary were also found to be "jointly made up" by senior police officers, who included the deputy head of the criminal investigation of the Intelligence and Operations Department and the officer-in-charge of D9 IPK KL.

The senior officers were found to have instructed two police sentries to write false entries in the diary on May 21 and also after Dhar­men­dran's death.

"The commission found that serious misconduct was committed by the senior officers in making up those false entries to cover up the actual fact surrounding the death of the deceased, preventing a fair and just investigation of the death," said Yaacob.

It was also revealed that the two lock-up sentries on duty were absent between 2.30pm and 4.30pm on May 21, at the time when Dharmendran was taken into the lock-up by D9 officers.

Yaacob said one of the lock-up sentries only returned at 4.30pm when he was informed that Dharmendran was found dead.

Other findings were that no effort was made to fix the surveillance cameras at the D9 lock-up which had not been operating since 2009.

The EAIC recommended that the Attorney-General's Chambers consider criminal charges against the police personnel for fabricating information in the lock-up diary, as well as action by the police's disciplinary panel.

On Feb 26, the Court of Appeal ordered Inspector S. Hare Krishnan, 42, Sjn Jaffri Jaafar, 46, Kpl Mohd Nahar Abd Rahman, 47, and Kpl Haswadi Zamri Shaari, 34, to enter their defence before the Kuala Lumpur High Court on the charge of murder.

Dharmendran was arrested on May 11, 2013, for the attempted murder of two people in Cheras and died in custody 10 days later.