Mohan Rajangam, the 50-year-old Singaporean who recently spoke to TOC about his traumatic arrest by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and his subsequent extradition to Malaysia in 2015, has filed an application to the Singapore High Court for a criminal revision.
Mr Mohan will be represented by human rights lawyer M Ravi in the former’s bid to obtain and examine the records — including the alleged charge sheet — pertaining to his extradition to Penang “to satisfy itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety” of the proceedings, according to a petition filed by M Ravi on Fri (10 Jan) and seen by TOC the same day.
Left in Malaysia for four months in 2015, allegedly without any follow up from either the SPF or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was forced to resort to buying his own flight ticket back to Singapore after his release from the custody of the Malaysian police, and was made to pay a fine for purportedly overstaying in Malaysia.
Following the extradition, Mr Mohan had to recuperate from the health condition suffered due to the four-month long detention in Malaysia, and took time to settle down in life as a result of losing his day job.
In his recent interview with TOC, Mr Mohan said that prior to being brought to the State Court — where the extradition order against him was reportedly made — he was held by SPF without legal representation for 48 hours allegedly without having his statement recorded or taken down by an investigating officer (IO),
“I thought, [after] 48 hours [of detention], they were going to release me … They handcuffed my leg, they handcuffed my hand, brought me to court … Then one of the interpreters was reading saying that on 2nd of March 2015, I took a gun and shot one Indian guy — I can’t remember the name — at 9.20 p.m. in George Town,” said Mr Mohan.
Mr Mohan said that he had told both the interpreter and the presiding State Court judge that he was “having a function” at the nightclub where he was employed at the time on the day the murder took place, and that his passport records show that he “did not go to Malaysia” during that period of time.
When asked about the judge’s response to his testimony, Mr Mohan claimed that the judge had refused to listen to him, and told him to “talk to the Singapore police” regarding the matter, after which Mr Mohan was told that he would be released after 14 days if he was found innocent.
“I told the judge that I was in Singapore. There was a birthday function at my workplace. I had nothing to do with the murder case. I told him to screen my passport for all entries and exits this year. But the judge dismissed my reasons and gave consent for the Malaysian authorities to bring me out of the country for investigation,” he said, adding that he told the judge to write down his statement of defence.
Prior to engaging Mr M Ravi as his lawyer, Mr Mohan had approached two other lawyers to assist him in seeking answers for his extradition. However, the lawyers reportedly had to decline as they “were not keen on challenging the government”.
Mr Mohan approached Mr M Ravi with the confidence that he would be willing to represent him in the legal process of seeking answers regarding his extradition.
Mr Mohan also noted in his recent interview with TOC that his wife, Kasthuri, went to court and requested the charge sheet while he was held by the Malaysian police in Penang as “she wanted to hire a good lawyer”.
“However, she was told that there were no charges against me in the system for the year 2015. Therefore she could not write in,” added Mr Mohan.
He revealed that Ms Kasthuri had gone back to court and “paid a certain amount to request the charge sheet”, but the court had declined her request.
Mr Mohan also claimed that he had made a request to the State Court for his charge sheet himself following his return to Singapore. He was advised to make an appeal via email. However, his appeal was rejected.
“What is happening? Why am I not given the same charge sheet which was read out to me in court on 23 March 2015?” He questioned.
According to the Singapore Police Force’s guidelines, an accused person must be given a copy of the charge relating to the alleged crime, a notice of warning and the accused’s statement in answer to the charge.
Once an accused person is charged in Court, the accused or his lawyer can request for copies of certain reports from the Investigation Officer prior to the commencement of criminal proceedings in line with the law.
Such reports include the certified true copy of the Police report pertaining to the case. However, this request will be subjected to the guidelines applicable to the Police for the release of such documents.
No charge read in Penang due to insufficient evidence; all investigations could have been held in S’pore without extradition to M’sia: Mohan Rajangam
Mr Mohan previously told TOC that the investigating officer (IO) at Cantonment Police Station after his arrest had only “roughly briefed” him and asked him regarding his whereabouts and activities on the night the murder had taken place “without taking any statement in the laptop”.
“No person is judged as a criminal until proven guilty. The Police branded me and treated me like a criminal even before any form of evidence to prove that I was involved in a crime that took place in Penang,” said Mr Mohan.
“There was no evidence against me, but the police did not want to release me,” he said, noting that Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs interviewed him and wrote a report at the end of the fourth month he was in Penang, stating that he was not involved in the murder case as his passport revealed that he did not go to Penang for eight months.
According to Mr Mohan, the Malaysian Police had sought his assistance because he was acquainted with one of the suspects over a decade ago. Furthermore, he bears a resemblance to the key suspect of the murder charge.
By the time he was presented in the Penang court, however, the suspect had confessed to the crime.
When asked if he was charged in the Penang court, he said: “They didn’t read any charge in Penang.”
“The police did not screen my passport for all entries and exits from Singapore to Malaysia. The CNB and SSB could not find any criminal records on me after screening.
“Therefore, Singapore should not have handed me to the Malaysian authorities if I have no criminal records,” according to Mr Mohan, adding that his passport did not reveal that he was in Malaysia at the time the murder took place.
“There was no concrete evidence against me that required me to leave Singapore’s custody and be sent to another country,” he added. “In any event, all investigations could have been held in Singapore without handing me over.”
“Due to the poor government system, I was wrongly judged, sent away from my family, and homeland to be interrogated by another Government … There was no help or any form of assistance from my Government,” Mr Mohan lamented.
“They should investigate me first … If they can tell the date and time I did the murder, why didn’t they check the passport?” he charged.
According to s.401(1) of the CPC, the High Court has the authority to direct the lower court to make further inquiry into a complaint which has been dismissed under section 152 or into the case of an accused who has been discharged.