Altantuya’s family move to recall private eye to the stand

(NST) – The family of Altantuya Shaariibuu and the Mongolian government will file an application to have private investigator P. Balasubramaniam recalled to the stand on his two contradictory statutory declarations (SDs) made early this month.

Lawyer Karpal Singh said documents would be filed at the Shah Alam High Court on Monday for the application to be heard before judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin, who is presiding over the murder trial of the Mongolian woman.

“We want the application heard first and a ruling made,” said Karpal, who is holding a watching brief for the victim’s family and the Mongolian government.

The court had earlier fixed Wednesday for the prosecution and the defence to make submissions after the former closed its case.

Balasubramaniam was one of the key witnesses who gave his evidence in the trial, which began in June last year.

Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 33, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 38, are charged with the murder of Altantuya in Bukit Raja, Selangor, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 11am the following day, in 2006.

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 48, is charged with abetting the crime.

Karpal, who is also MP for Bukit Gelugor, said the application was also made on the grounds of public interest.

In Balasubramaniam’s first SD filed on July 1, the former policeman linked Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the murdered woman.

Then, on July 4, in a complete turnaround, Balasubramaniam filed another statutory declaration retracting the earlier sworn document.

“It is necessary for the court to re-evaluate Balasubramaniam’s evidence given in court earlier in view of the conflicting SDs,” Karpal said.

He said it would affect Balasubramaniam’s credibility if he was not recalled, and the trial could take on a new perspective if he returned to shed light into the SDs.

“The trial judge can recall a witness at any stage of the proceedings,” he said.

Police are also investigating to determine if there are hidden agendas behind the SDs.

The whereabouts of Balasubramaniam and his family are not known, although the police subsequently confirmed having recorded a statement from him overseas.

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