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SHAH ALAM: Former lawyer N.Pathmanabhan, who is the first accused in the murder trial of Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others, today denied that a land transaction in Penang involving the cosmetics millionaire was a scam.
Pathmanabhan's made the denial when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Saiful Edris Zainuddin about the parcel of land valued at RM25 million, which was bought by Sosilawati's company, Southern Symphony Sdn Bhd, from an Indian businessman, A.Muthuraja, in 2008.
When asked whether he knew that four caveats were filed on the three plots in the parcel located in Batu Ferringhi, the 43-year-old accused, who was Sosilawati's lawyer for the transaction, said he did.
Saiful Edris: "As four caveats were filed on the property, don't you think that it's a dubious transaction?"
Pathmanabhan: "That's why I filed a court application to withdraw the caveats."
When Saiful Edris showed the accused a letter from a legal firm in Penang which said transaction was doubtful, Pathmanabhan still denied that the transaction was a fraud.
"I had written a letter to the legal firm, asking them to submit a document to prove their allegation that the transaction was a fraud, but they did not reply to my letter and had never filed any application in court to challenge my request," the accused said.
Pathmanabhan and three farm workers, T. Thilaiyalagan, 21, R Matan, 22, and R. Kathavarayan, 32, have been ordered to enter their defence on the charge of murdering Sosilawati, 47, bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and Sosilawati's driver Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44.
They are charged with committing the offence at Ladang Gadong, Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjong Layang, Tanjung Sepat in Banting between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30, 2010.
The charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction.
The accused was also questioned about his statement yesterday that he had given a loan of RM4 million to Sosilawati.
"According to your bank statement, I say that you do not have the money to enable the payment be made for the cheques worth RM4 million," Saiful Edris suggested, to which Pathmanabhan disagreed.
"When Sosilawati came to see you on Aug 30, 2010, you did not have the money to enable her to cash the cheques," said Saiful Edris to which Pathmanabhan disagreed.
"In fact, you really don't have money and you were rolling Sosilawati's money into your account," Saiful Edris suggested again and Pathmanabhan continued to disagree.
Saiful Edris then showed the accused the cash withdrawal records from Southern Symphony's account where the date and amount of cash withdrawals were similar to the date and amount of cash deposits made inti the accused's personal account.
"Do you agree that if Sosilawati did not deposit her money into her client's account, you would not have the money," Saiful Edris suggested to which Pathmanabhan disagreed.
Pathmanabhan also disagreed with the deputy public prosecutor's suggestion that he had committed criminal breach of trust when he transfered money from a client's account into his own.
"I was given authorisation by my client (to withdraw money from client's account)," he said.
Meanwhile, when questioned by deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff, Pathmanabhan also denied that he had forced Sosilawati to sign the authorisation letter (authorisation to withdraw money from client's account) on Aug 30, 2012 in Ladang Gadong.
He also disagreed with Ishak's suggestion that he had backdated the letter to Aug 11, 2010.
The trial before Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir continues on July 3. BERNAMA