KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 ― The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) is empowered to investigate N. Dharmendran’s death in custody, his family lawyer told the police today who claimed the inquiry was sub judice to the detainee’s murder trial.
N. Surendran noted that pursuant to Section 27(5) and (6) of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission Act 2009, the commission has the discretion to proceed with an investigation even if Section 26(4)(f) states that the Complaints Committee shall recommend that the commission reject a complaint if there is a pending court case.
“Therefore, sub judice does not prevent the EAIC from proceeding with the inquiry in appropriate circumstances,” Surendran said in a statement.
“This is because the function of the EAIC is different from that of the court. The EAIC looks into investigation and prevention of misconduct among enforcement officers or agencies. Its function is to ensure and promote the integrity of all enforcement agencies in the country.
“It was clearly in the public interest that the EAIC report into this case be published,” the lawyer added.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar criticised yesterday the EAIC report on Dharmendran, which had found that the 31-year-old was beaten to death and tortured in police detention, and said it was sub judice to the ongoing murder trial against four officers.
Surendran said in response that the EAIC had mentioned in its report that it proceeded with an investigation only after the High Court here acquitted the four police officers in December 2014.
“By the time the Court of Appeal set aside the acquittal in February 2016, the EAIC had already completed its investigation and was preparing its report,” he said.
The lawyer also noted that the IGP did not express regret or apologise to Dharmendran’s family.
“This attitude only worsens the pain and grief felt by the wife and family since the death occurred on 21 May 2013,” he said.
The EAIC concluded in its report released yesterday that the police were responsible for the death of Dharmendran, who had been detained at the Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters in 2013, and accused the officers involved of tampering with evidence to hide their deed.