Little India Riot Inquiry: The passenger

File photo.

SINGAPORE - He was standing behind Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu before the latter was asked to leave the bus.

After the bus moved off, he saw Mr Sakthivel running after it moments before he was run over by the vehicle.

Welder Ganesan Thanaraj, a 34-year-old Indian national, told the committee of inquiry on Monday that he was queuing for the Jalan Papan-bound (Jurong) bus after meeting a friend on Dec 8 last year.

While standing in line, he noticed a South Asian man, whom he later found out was Mr Sakthivel, making unpleasant remarks towards other foreign workers queuing up for the bus that was to take them back to the dormitory.

He was unhappy at being told to queue up and went on talking to others in the line before cutting queue.

After they boarded the bus, Mr Sakthivel was standing right in front of him, Mr Ganesan said.

Stopped tirade

He said that he had stopped his tirade.

Responding to a question by Senior State Counsel David Khoo, Mr Ganesan said he did not notice Mr Sakthivel taking off his bermuda shorts.

But bus timekeeper Wong Geck Woon had noticed Mr Sakthivel cutting queue earlier and boarded the bus to ask him to get off.

When the bus started moving, Mr Ganesan looked out of the window and saw Mr Sakthivel walking beside it before he started running.

"I saw him running, but he had not crossed the road. When (there was a bump), I thought the bus must have run over this person," he said in Tamil to a court interpreter.

After bus driver Lee Kim Huat opened the doors to go down and check, Mr Ganesan also got down and walked to the next Jalan Papan-bound bus.

He said: "I did not want to stay at the accident scene because I had to be at work at 8am."

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