Little India riot: Trio file complaint of police assault

Three Indian nationals facing charges for their alleged roles in a riot in Little India on Dec 8 last year yesterday filed a formal complaint of police assault with the Internal Affairs Office (IAO).

The three were arrested at separate places that night, but all alleged they were physically assaulted, and subjected to insults and threats, to get them to admit to their roles in the riot.

Their lawyer, Mr M. Ravi, urged a "fair and just" probe by the IAO into the allegations, noting the conduct of the officers was "deplorable at best". The office is an independent unit of the Singapore Police Force that investigates disciplinary offences or crimes committed by officers during the course of their work.

The trio are IT project manager Arun Kaliamurthy, 28, who was visiting Singapore as a tourist when he was implicated, Rajendran Mohan, 25, and Ravi Arun Vengatesh, 24, who were both working here.

All three have posted bail, Mr Ravi told The Straits Times yesterday. They are among 25 men accused of rioting, sparked by a fatal accident involving a 33-year-old Indian national. The mayhem left 39 Home Team officers injured and 25 government vehicles damaged.

One of the three, Rajendran, alleged he was coerced to admit involvement in the riot, even if innocent, to accept blame "for the other Tamils who did indeed participate". He said he was told if he did not confess, he would be "sent home in a body bag".

Another accused, Arun, said he was slapped and punched, including by a female officer.

Allegations of abuse first surfaced in court on Dec 17. Second Minister for Home Affairs S.Iswaran said such claims were viewed seriously and would be investigated thoroughly.

A police spokesman yesterday said the IAO is investigating the matter and had taken statements from the three after they raised the allegations in court.

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