MP wants independent probe of death in police custody


Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Opposition MP M Kulasegaran has asked for an independent probe into the death in custody of security guard Baskar Rao.

The DAP politician said he had just attended the final rites of Baskar, 47, who allegedly set himself on fire while handcuffed at the Jelapang police station on Aug 22.

“Baskar’s mother wept uncontrollably not knowing how her loving son was burnt to death while in the custody, care and control of the police.

“He was in his hospital bed for the last nine days. He was fighting for his life,” said Kula in a statement.

Baskar is survived by A Thanaletchemy, 45, and his two children. He died yesterday at 4.10pm, the statement said.Kula urged the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) or the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to take over the investigations as “we cannot rule out bias if the investigation is left solely to the police”.

Kula was commenting on the incident that took place in his Ipoh Barat constituency when Baskar had gone to the Jelapang police station to lodge a report on a break-in where he was working as a security guard.

Kula claimed however that police refused to accept his report and handcuffed Baskar after a tussle.

“But in the process, Baskar apparently decided to commit suicide and he lighted a fire when he had some ‘substance’ all over his body, which caught fire.

“In the process, he was severely burnt. All this took place about 1-2am in the Jelapang police compound,” Kula was reported as saying.

“Who will now provide for the children and the family,” Kula asked, adding that getting to the bottom of how Baskar died was crucial.

Kula also took exception to police revealing the past criminal offences of those who have died in their custody.

The lawyer said the action of divulging such previous criminal activities of the deceased made the police look good.

Perak CID chief SAC Gan Tian Kee said Baskar had a criminal record for 13 previous cases, including for drugs.

He said the man wanted to lodge a police report but was in a drunken state. The policeman told him to calm down and return when he was sober but Baskar became angry.

“Can the police confirm if the CCTV was working at the time of the incident?” Kula asked.

“Have any police officers been suspended from work due to this incident?

“As it is death by fire while being handcuffed by the police in a police station, will the coroner be asked to determine the cause of death?”

Kula said he and other lawyers from DAP, including V Vemal Arasan and N Selvam, would provide the necessary legal assistance.