He had friendly phone chat with ASP who wanted to congratulate him for first SD, says lawyer
(Press statements by Americk and Sivarasah)
At a press conference now going on at 5.30pm, P Balasubramaniam’s lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu has cast doubt on the private eye’s second statutory declaration.
After spending hours with Bala taking notes of his testimony previously and being familiar with his character, Americk said, “I am very sceptical that he has signed the second statutory declaration of his own free will and I am convinced he has been intimidated to do so by either threats or promises, as I can think of no other reason.”
He said Bala had signed the first declaration in front of a commissioner of oaths – someone whom Bala recognised as having grown up in the same Slim River neighbourhood as himself – on his own free will.
“I am therefore extremely surprised that Mr. Bala, in the space of 24 hours, has engaged the services of another lawyer and affirmed another statutory declaration swearing the first one was untrue and that he was forced to sign it,” said Americk.
The last Americk saw Bala was in Americk’s office after the press conference. Bala said the police were trying to contact him over the phone. Americk then told Bala to talk to them since they were trying to reach him.
Bala then spoke to the ASP and left at around 4.45pm. Americk assumed he was going to meet the ASP at about 6.30pm as they had been talking about having fishhead curry at Brickfields, said the lawyer.
Bala didn’t seem to be apprehensive about the ASP; he seemed to know him quite well. From the conversation on the phone, Americk said it sounded jovial and happy, and the ASP seemed happy that Bala had made the SD.
It sounded like the ASP wanted to see Bala to congratulate him for what he had done. “That was the impression I got,” said Americk.
Americk said he had spent a few hours each on two or three earlier occasions talking to Bala and taking down notes. “He gave me the impression that he wanted to do the right thing.” His impression was that Bala was trustworthy.
To a question from reporters, Americk confirmed that he doesn’t belong to any political party. “I am totally apolitical and I am only concerned about what is right.”
PKR vice-president Sivarasah Rasiah said the question wasn’t relevant as Americk was there in his capacity as Bala’s lawyer.
“I am very troubled that last night, one way or another, and true to Mr. Bala’s concerns, another crime was committed,” said Sivarasah. The crime was something which caused Bala this morning to retract the statements he made on 1 July 2008 and revealed publicly yesterday, he added.
“In particular we have taken notice that line by line the specific statements that were revised in Bala’s new statement have selectively removed those which specifically implicate the Deputy Prime Minister by name,” said Sivarasah. That crime could be intimidation or inducement, he pointed out. “It is important for us to reject that message of intimidation.”
Americk’s lawyer who was also present said that Americk was carrying out his duties as Bala’s lawyer and reiterated that the first statutory declaration was voluntarily signed before the commissioner of oaths.
Just before the press conference ended, Sivarasah said people could judge for themselves from Bala’s expression and demeanour when he was telling the truth – yesterday or today.