PI's controversial SDs: Police record statement from lawyer Puravelan
©The Malaysian Insider (Used by permission)
Lawyer refuses to divulge info to cops
KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 – Lawyer M. Puravalen, who was Abdul
Razak Baginda's first lawyer in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case two years
ago, has refused to divulge to the police today the details of "privileged
information" shared with him by his client.
The 54–year–old lawyer said such information when made in full confidentiality was a fundamental and sacrosanct aspect of the lawyer–client relationship.
"It enables the lawyer to defend his client fully. If this basis is eroded, then
there is no basis for the criminal justice system," said the former KL Bar chief
to reporters after he was questioned by the police for an hour this morning at
the Commercial Crimes Department in Jalan Dato Onn here.
Puravalen said the police had asked him "certain questions on my professional relationship with my client" but he declined to comment on the exact nature of the questions.
He was accompanied by his counsel Akbar Hussain, Stanley Sinnapen and Oh Choong Ghee , his partner in his law firm, Sulaiman Abdullah and Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.
Ambiga told reporters that such action by the police was tantamount to "an act of intimidation and an interference of the whole criminal justice system if the lawyer cannot act to defend his client".
She added that the Bar Council had sent a letter to the Inspector–General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan this morning to protest the police actions and expressed her hope that they would cease to subject lawyers to such harassment.
Puravalen is the third lawyer to have been summoned by the police in the span of one week for questioning in relation to private investigator P. Balasubramaniam's two contradictory statutory declarations (SD) on the murder case.
He said he had been served a notice yesterday afternoon to meet the police at 10am to have his statement recorded.
Americk Singh Sidhu, the lawyer who prepared Balasubramaniam's first SD, was the first to be questioned last Friday, followed by N. Surendran, lawyer to R. Kumaresan, nephew to the missing detective, last Saturday.
Surendran, who was also present today, told reporters that police had kept him for one–and–a–half hours.
"They asked me where Bala was. But they already know (the answer). So they want to know what we know. And why is that? I can only conclude that they have something to hide."