Kugan had injuries all over his body, court told

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KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court was told that suspected car thief A. Kugan, who died in police custody, suffered extensive beating. He had injuries all over his body.

There was blood and foam coming out of his mouth when his family saw his body at the Serdang Hospital mortuary on Jan 20, 2009.

Lawyer N. Surendran, who was present at the mortuary with Kugan's family and others, said there were scars all over Kugan's back and there were also V-shaped marks.

"I have acted for victims in many death in custody cases and have seen badly beaten and decomposing bodies. But nothing prepared me for Kugan's body."

Surendran, 45, was testifying in a RM100 million suit brought by Kugan's mother, N. Indra, against Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (who was then the Selangor police chief), former police constable V. Navindran, former Subang Jaya district police chief Assistant Commissioner Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar (deceased), the IGP and the government.

Navindran was sentenced to three years' jail by the Sessions Court in June for causing hurt to Kugan.

In her statement of claim, Indra said all the defendants had failed to ensure the safety, health and welfare of her son while in police custody from Jan 14 to 20, 2009.

She claimed that the defendants also attempted to cover-up the actual cause of Kugan's death.

Surendran, the first witness, said the hospital mortuary attendant had refused to let the family members see his body.

He said Kugan's death was still a mystery at that time as the police had given them little information on how he died, except that he had breathing difficulties.

"The explanation was hard to believe as Kugan was young," he said.

Kugan was 23 when he died.

"The family members cried and screamed when they saw the body. I advised them not to bury or cremate the body until the outcome of the post-mortem and, if necessary, to get a second post-mortem done."

Surendran said he heard the next day on the radio that Khalid had claimed that Kugan had died of water in the lungs.

Indra, who also testified yesterday, said police never told her that her son had been arrested.

"They hid this from me for six days. They only informed me when he died."

Hearing before judge Datuk V.T. Singham continues on Tuesday.


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