Singapore narcotics bureau officer on trial for assaulting Malaysian drug suspect to extract a confession

Vengedesh Raj Nainar Nagarajan, a Central Narcotics Bureau officer, allegedly beat up a suspect three times in less than four hours in the toilet of the bureau's office at Woodlands Checkpoint. — Reuters pic
Vengedesh Raj Nainar Nagarajan, a Central Narcotics Bureau officer, allegedly beat up a suspect three times in less than four hours in the toilet of the bureau's office at Woodlands Checkpoint. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 24 — A 33-year-old officer from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) went on trial yesterday for allegedly kicking, punching and slapping a man to extract a confession from him.

Vengedesh Raj Nainar Nagarajan is accused of assaulting Sivabalan Janniappan three times on January 2, 2017. Sivabalan was found with controlled drugs concealed in a raincoat bag.

Vengedesh faces three charges of voluntarily causing hurt related to the alleged assault. He also faces three charges of verbally abusing police officers and drinking alcohol in public after 10.30pm, but these were stood down for the trial.

Vengedesh held the rank of corporal at the time of the alleged incident and has since been suspended from CNB.  

Court documents showed that he allegedly beat Sivabalan up between 5.58am and 6.14am, between 8.35am and 8.43am, and between 9.28am and 9.30am in the toilet of the CNB office at Woodlands Checkpoint.

He purportedly did this to get Sivabalan to confess that he had knowledge of bundles of controlled drugs found concealed in his bag.

Sivabalan, a 24-year-old Malaysian, was arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint. He is now serving 15 years in jail and was given 13 strokes of the cane for drug offences.

On Monday, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Dillon Kok said that another narcotics officer detained Sivabalan after discovering drugs concealed in a raincoat in his motorcycle.

Sivabalan cooperated and did not struggle.

He gave a statement to CNB officers at about 4.15am but he did not admit guilt.  The team of officers then asked for more support from other CNB teams. 

Vengedesh’s team, who was on standby, arrived at the Woodlands Checkpoint office close to 6am. Doctors examined Sivabalan the evening of the alleged incident and CNB began internal investigations after he made allegations of assault against Vengedesh. 

DPP Han Ming Kuang told the court that the prosecution will show Vengedesh took Sivabalan to the toilet on three separate occasions and assaulted him on his own accord, in violation of CNB protocols and the law.

The prosecution will call 18 witnesses including CNB and police officers, and present evidence that includes closed-circuit television footage and Vengedesh’s statements.

Vengedesh is represented by defence lawyer Peter Keith Fernando.The trial continues for the rest of the week. If convicted of assault in order to get a confession, he could be jailed up to seven years, as well as fined or caned. ― TODAY

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