THE torture of 22-year-old A. Kugan in police custody that included hot-branding him like an animal, unheard of in local crime history, will open fresh investigations into his death.
Pathologist Prof Dr Abdul Karim Tajuddin of Serdang Hospital, who conducted the first post-mortem, and the 11 policemen who interrogated Kugan are now at the centre of a new police probe.
Police sources last night told Malay Mail that the revelations of the second autopsy are “horrific
“Much as we would like it to be an isolated case, such torture of a detainee is unthinkable,” said a source.
Questions are being asked if there was a “cover-up” and certain quarters have demanded for Selangor police chief DCP Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar's resignation.
Kapar MP S. Manicakavasagam has branded Khalid a “liar”.
Dr Abdul Karim has not only to answer to the police but the Malaysian Medical Council as well “due to the huge discrepancies in both the reports”, say sources.
The sources said Dr Abdul Karim, who did the first post-mortem on Jan 21, has to be interviewed by police again “as his and the independent report don’t make sense”.
“Further, there is also a possibility that the deceased's family might level charges against him for making a false or incomplete post-mortem report,” a source said.
Surendran said this was confusing as it was compulsory for any pathologist to conduct a complete check.
Questions have been raised over how Dr Abdul Karim could have missed:
● A 5.5cm x 4.5cm area of contusion over the entire back of Kugan with multiple, repeated application of heat with an instrument or object with a triangular surface.
● This caused multiple “V” shaped burn wounds on Kugan’s back.
● These wounds were healing, as was evident from the formation of black crust and a few were infected and covered with purulent exudates or, in layman’s terms, pus.
The police would have to record fresh statements from all concerned “given the shocking nature of the report”, said police sources of the explosive independent second autopsy report released by Kugan’s family lawyers yesterday.
It had been reported that police had been mulling charging the 11 policemen allegedly involved with voluntarily causing hurt to extort a confession under Section 330 of the Penal Code.
All 11 are currently on desk duty at Selangor police headquarters in Shah Alam and the sources said suspensions were now unavoidable “as the (second) post-mortem report is a damning indictment of the police”.
The second post-mortem at University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) was commissioned
by Kugan’s family after they were dissatisfied with the first report tendered by Serdang Hospital.
On whether Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail will accept an independent autopsy report, lawyers said he was duty-bound to do so.
Pakatan Rakyat MPs will hand the report to Gani at his office in Putrajaya today. Gani yesterday declined comment.
Surendran said he received the autopsy report, with photographs, from UMMC pathologist Dr Prashant N. Samberkar at 5.30pm on Monday in the presence of the UMMC legal officer.
Surendran alleged that the report showed that the assailants could foresee that Kugan would have died.
Kugan died at the Subang Taipan police station on Jan 20, six days after he had been arrested in connection with car thefts.
Lawyer N. Surendran, who listed the abuse A. Kugan endured, summed it up thus: "It appears that Kugan was severely tortured over a period of days and the kind of pain he suffered is unimaginable."
The abuse discovered in the second autopsy, according to Surendran:
Being burnt 17 times with an extremely hot iron instrument:
Kugan was branded, just like how cattle are marked, by the "repeated application of heat with an instrument with a triangular surface". There were multiple "V"-shaped burn wounds imprinted on his back. Some wounds were healing while others were infected;
Almost the entire back was covered with contusions, marks and bruises;
Starved during his detention;
Suffered massive internal bleeding due to repeated beatings:
There was haemorrhaging in many of his internal organs, including his heart, left lung, spleen and kidneys, the back of his neck, spine area and the soles of his feet, which showed that he took consistent beatings;
Suffered internal bleeding in the scalp area following repeated beatings with a blunt object;
Died of acute kidney failure due to the assault:
The beatings had caused a breakdown in Kugan's muscle cells which then congested the blood flow and resulted in kidney failure.