In the latest development regarding the case of 50-year-old Singaporean Mohan Rajangam who was “extradited” to Malaysia to face charges relating to a murder in Penang five years ago, it appears that the Singapore State Court has lost the notes of evidence of Mr Mohan’s hearing which took place in Singapore on 23 March 2015.
On 21 March 2015, Mr Mohan was arrested by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) after the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) allegedly sought assistance to his arrest because he was believed to be involved in a gang’s drug activities and harbouring members of the gang which is involved in a lethal shootout that transpired in Penang.
Two days later, Mr Mohan was brought to the State Court, where the charge for the murder in Penang was read out to him.
Mr Mohan had raised in court that he was not present in Malaysia at the time of the murder in Penang, pointing to his passport as proof that he was actually in Singapore during that time. However, the judge granted permission for him to be “extradited” anyway.
Mr Mohan was subsequently “extradited” to Malaysia where he was left there for four months, allegedly without any follow-up from either the SPF or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While in Malaysia, Mr Mohan was detained by the local authorities without being charged for anything. He noted that no charges were read against him in Penang court.
Later, when he was finally released from the custody of the Malaysian police in July 2015, Mr Mohan had to resort to buying his own flight ticket back to Singapore and was even made to pay a fine for purportedly overstaying in Malaysia, though he was detained the entire time.
After his return, 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.
Mr Mohan said in an interview with TOC earlier this year that his wife, Kasthuri, went to the Singapore State Court to request for a copy of the charge sheet while her husband was being detained by the Malaysian police in Penang in 2015. However, she was told that there were no charges against her husband in the system for the year 2015, therefore she could not write in.
On the second attempt at obtaining the records, Mr Mohan 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 in an earlier interview with TOC.
TOC had reached out to the State Court to find out the reason it rejected both requests, but never receive a reply.
Five years since the above events, Mr Mohan filed an application to the Singapore High Court for a criminal revision. He was represented by human rights lawyer M Ravi in his bid to obtain and examine court records pertaining to his extradition to Penang “to satisfy itself as to the correctness, legality or propriety” of the proceedings including an alleged charge sheet that Mr Mohan has thus far been unable to obtain. This is based on a petition filed by M Ravi on 10 January and seen by TOC the same day.
A reply from the Attorney General’s Chamber which TOC saw, dated 28 February, said that the State Court has been “unable to trace the notes of evidence for the hearing”.
According to Mr Mohan, the State Court said that the records may have been lost during the move from the old State Courts building to the new State Courts Tower.
TOC has reached out to the State Court to confirm this and inquire about how many documents were lost in that shift.
Criminal revision to be withdrawn
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.
However, in the case of Mr Mohan, there had been no extradition under the Extradition Act but a transfer of suspects under Section 121 CPC reciprocal arrangement between Singapore and Malaysia as revealed in the Singapore Police’s statement in response to TOC’s story of Mr Mohan.
We understand from Mr Mohan that the application for criminal revision will be withdrawn in light of new information that was revealed after the application was filed — It was originally made under the assumption that Mr Mohan was transferred to Malaysian authorities under the Extradition Act.
We also note that in the AGC’s reply to Mr Mohan’s lawyer, they were warned that if Mr Mohan decides to continue pursuing the matter, the AGC would claims costs against them.