For months Sarawak Report has quietly followed events and accumulated evidence as a disgraceful attempt to blackmail witnesses in a case before the Malaysian court has apparetly unfolded.
Behind this alleged blackmail are none other than Malaysia’s first couple, Najib and Rosmah, who are described as the “Masterminds And Beneficiaries of this Conspiracy” numerous times in the original statement that defendant Deepak Jaikashan was less than a hour away from placing before the High Court in KL a fortnight ago on 25th October.
Sarawak Report has an exclusive copy of that original statement of defence, which was forwarded via third parties from Deepak himself.
However, just minutes before filing that defence, Deepak suddenly asked the court for an extension of time. Later, on November 6th, an entirely different Statement of Defence was submitted on his apparent behalf by the lawyer Shafee Abdullah, the Prime Minister’s own key legal advisor, demanding that the case of Selvi Satamil, PI Bala’s widow, be struck out.
The reason? Sarawak Report has information that agents of the Minister of Finance had, minutes before Deepak arrived at the court, sent out the message that the tax authorities would forgive him a monstrous, trumped up tax bill of millions of ringgit that the businessman has complained was being used against him to make him cooperate to change his plea.
Today, that conspiracy appears to have been laid bare, thanks to the bravery and rectitude of the lawyers of the widow of PI Bala, Selvi Santamil.
Last Thursday, her lawyers reportedly received a huge bundle of used notes, delivered to their offices without explanation by Deepak.*
Was this gift the product of the struggling conscience of the 8th Defendant in her case, who once again left her in the lurch by changing his defence at the last moment? So far, he has refused to publicly offer a reason for depositing the cash.
Yet Sarawak Report can exclusively reveal that Defendant 8 has for months repeatedly claimed he has been placed under extreme financial pressure to change his plea in Selvi’s case, thanks to a massive tax bill orchestrated against him by a fellow defendant in the case, namely the MOF/ PM otherwise known as MO1.
Sarawak Report has followed the twists and turns behind this shocking legal saga for several months, accumulating a devastating dossier of evidence in the form of phone calls, documents, texts and recorded evidence.
Selvi Santamil, the widow of PI Bala, had sued 9 defendants, whom she blamed for the stress and loss of income inflicted on her husband, her family and herself, after he was allegedly forced to change his testimony over the case of the Prime Minister’s murdered Mongolian translator back in 2008.
PI Bala had issued a Statutory Declaration on 3rd July 2008 detailing his evidence relating to the murder and later conviction of two of Najib’s bodyguards for that offence, which he said had been suppressed during the court case. However, overnight following a sensational news conference in which he released the explosive details of that evidence, he withdrew the declaration and issued a replacement (known as his 2nd Statutory Declaration) in a morning press conference.
Bala then had disappeared with his family, only to resurface back in KL in early 2013, shortly before the 13th General Election, to make the accusation that he had been forced to make the changes by family members of Najib Razak and their agents, who included Deepak Jaikashan.
In return for removing all referrences to the then Deputy PM in his SD Bala had been given money to flee into exile he explained. He also said that he had been threatened to do so by a brother of Najib Razak, who had indicated his family was no longer safe if he remained in KL without altering the declaration.
Shortly after this shocking series of revelations and just before the election, Bala died of a heart attack.
Widowed Selvi has struggled to look after her family ever since, having been promised on many occasions that they would be cared for. She launched proceedings against the 9 Defendants, which included explosive details of an apparent cover-up to suppress her husband’s evidence as laid out in the First SD.
In 2013 PI Bala had announced he stood by that original SD in an explosive pre-election press conference.
Just as explosive had been a series of press statements by Deepak Jaikashan, who next went public to admit that his role in the alleged cover-up was just as Bala had alleged. Deepak told the media he had indeed contacted the private investigator on behalf of Najib and Rosmah on the night he changed his SD and that he had accompanied two of Najib’s brothers and a number of solicitors to a hotel in KL, where they forced Bala to alter his declaration overnight.
It was on the basis of these statements that Selvi launched her case for damages last year which has turned into a long running court battle full of twists and turns. Eight of the defendants, including Najib and Rosmah and his brothers Nazir and Johari, demanded the case be struck out. However, Deepak, at first testified that he did not want to contest the case as to do so would contradict his own previous public remarks and admissions that what Bala had said was true.
If the case continued against Deepak then the whole sordid tale of alleged cover-up would have been scrutinised in court however and it was perhaps of little suprise when late last year Deepak suddenly changed his plea and hired Najib’s own top lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, who put in a motion to strike out like everybody else – a motion that was controversially accepted immediately by the court.
There had been a last minute wavering even then, however, because Deepak tried to dismiss Shafee just before the hearing, announcing he had decided to put in his own defence after all.
Yet, astonishingly, Shafee refused to be dismissed and the judges supported that refusal and denied Deepak the right to change his plea from what his lawyer wanted. A furious complaint was issued by Selvi’s lawyers, who then relaunched the case.
As that new case progressed in the course of this year Sarawak Report developed close contacts to people close to Defendant 8, Deepak Jaikashan, who provided information and evidence substantiating a complaint by him that he was being persistently blackmailed to fall in line with the other defendants and plea to deny all Selvi’s complaints and strike out the case.
According to this evidence received by Sarawak Report Deepak Jaikashan suddently found himself landed with a massive multi-million ringgit tax bill issued by the revenue authorities shortly after he had made it clear that he was refusing to join the other Defendants in contesting Selvi’s case.
Sarawak Report understands from reliable sources that these bills related to profits that Deepak had earned on paper from a series of lucrative land deals, which he had conducted as a proxy for Rosmah Mansor, whom he describes as a ‘Business Partner’ in the original Defence Statement, which he had been planning to submit before the court in October. Indeed, Deepak’s close relationship with Rosmah and his apparent role as a facilitator has been long admitted by the businessman, who admitted to organising several purchases for the Prime Minister’s wife of expensive diamonds.
In conversations with Sarawak Report, Deepak has acknowledged several times over the past year that he had agreed to withdraw from Selvi’s original case on the promise that this tax bill would be withdrawn. He complained that the bill had been orchestrated by the Minister of Finance in a clear abuse of power and said that a close crony of the PM, Abdul Azeez, had been dispatched to inform him that if he changed his plea the bill would be reduced.
He had agreed, he has explained on several occasions to Sarawak Report, which accounted for his originally hiring Shafee (on the advice of Azeez) to take him out of the case.
However, according to Deepak, the Minister of Finance reneged on that commitment to waive the bill (which he believes ought to have been paid by Rosmah, who was the actual person who made the profits).
Originally, Deepak said, he had been informed that the proceedings against him for the money had been dropped. Then he received letter, which said that this decision had been over-ruled by the Finance Minister himself.
“Najib wanted to keep a noose around my neck”,
Deepak has told Sarawak Report and it was that reversal which had prompted his attempt to drop Shafee and change his plea at the last minute in the original case last year.
It was for this same reason that he was apparently again refusing to cooperate with the other defendants in fighting the new case brought by Selvi that is still on-going.
Right up to the day Deepak was due to put in his defence he had held out against taking back Shafee as his lawyer and against cooperating with the other defendants who were moving to strike out Selvi’s new case against them.
He had even drawn up a bombshell Statement that admitted and corroborated every substantial detail of Selve’s allegations, of which Sarawak Report has a copy.
However, at last, as Sarawak Report has been reliably informed, the news came through that the tax bill would be indeed dramatically reduced.
With just an hour before the deadline for filing his defence Deepak asked for an extension to “amend his statement”. The next day he is believed to have settled a vastly reduced tax bill agreed by officials at the revenue department.
Later, Shafee Abdullah submitted a new and completely altered defence statement that fell in line with the denials of the other 8 defendants and likewise moved to strike out Selvi’s case.
Sarawak Report has been passed copy of that original Statement of Defence, which in contrast to the revised document produced by Shafee, explosively admits to every key allegation made by Bala’s widow about the threats, blackmail and forced exile forced on the private detective after he spoke out.
To understand the admissions Deepak made in that original statement, it is important to rehearse what was alleged in Selvi’s original Statement of Claim, which he was acknowledging to be true. For example:
“On or about the evening of 03.07.2008, the 8th Defendant [Deepak Jaikashan] received a telephone call from the 2md Defendant [Rosmah]. [Rosmah] instructed [Deepak] to resolve the problem occasioned by the release of the deceased’s [PI Bala] ‘SD1′ [1st Statutory Declaration] that day and requested [Deepak] to attend the official residence of the Deputy Prime Minister, Sri Satria, at Putrajaya to discuss the matter further that very evening.
[Deepak] duly complied with these instructions and attended the official residence of [Najib] that evening where he met both [Najib] and [Rosmah]. [Deepak] was informed by [Najib] and [Rosmah] that he [Deepak] was to arrange a meeting with [Bala] with a view to organize a retraction of ‘SD1′ by a further Statutory Declaration to be signed by the deceased.
At all material times [Deepak] acted as the agent of [Najib] and [Rosmah] and upon their directions to him.
Acting as such agent as aforesaid, [Deepak] met [Bala] at a restaurant in the town of Rawang, Selangor. At the said meeting [Deepak] requested [Bala] to retract SD1. Monetary compensation and threats to the safety of the deceased and the Plaintiffs were offered as an inducement for the proposed retraction“[from Selvi’s complaint to the court]
By admitting to the above, which Deepak does in his original complaint, he has acknowledged that on Najib’s and his wife’s orders PI Bala was subject both to bribes and threats to the safety of himself and his family to make him comply with the demand that he issue a new Statutory Declaration. The allegation could hardly be more serious.
Selvi’s case particulars continue with a series of further devastating paragraphs, which is it now understood that Deepak’s defence does not deny. Instead he says that whilst Selvi’s allegations are indeed true, he was not personally responsible because he was merely acting on behalf of Najib and Rosmah, whom he describes on numerous times, according to what Sarawak Report has learnt, as the “masterminds and beneficiaries of this conspiracy” to blackmail Bala. A conspiracy that included two of Najib’s brothers and their lawyers, according to Selvi’s continuing complaint:
Later, on the same evening [Bala] was introduced to the 4th Defendant [Nazim Razak, Najib’s brother] who advised [Bala] in no uncertain terms, that he was to follow the instructions of [Deepak] if he loved his family and cared for their safety.
[Bala] was then taken to the Hilton Hotel in KL Sentral and escorted to a room which had been booked by [Deepak]. [Bala] was kept in this room … until the morning of 04.07.2008.
The 3rd Defendant [Johari Razak, Najib’s brother] contacted the 5th Defendant [lawyer Cecil Abraham] and instructed the preparation of a Statutory Declaration to be signed by the deceased in which a retraction of the contents of ‘SD1′ was to be made.
[Cecil Abraham], with the assistance of the 6th Defendant [his son Sunil Abraham] prepared the said Statutory Declaration (‘SD2′), as instructed. [Sunil Abraham] thereafter delivered ‘SD2′ to the lobby of the Hilton Hotel KL Sentral sometime in the early hours of the morning of the 04.07.2008 …. [Selvi’s statement]
A short while later, goes on Selvi’s statement, a Commissioner for Oaths named Zainal Abidin Bin Muhayat (Defendant 7) arrived to get Bala’s signature on the document. Bala was not given the opportunity to read the contents of the new SD and nor did he have his own lawyer present: he was merely asked to sign.
Bala was then driven to a second press conference at 8.45am held at the Prince Hotel to present the second SD. Selvi says Deepak organised the event and Deepak admits it in his original statement, save to say he was carrying out the orders of Rosmah and Najib.
Bala had been told he must say nothing at this second press conference and that all the talking would be carried out by the 9th Defendant, who was the lawyer Arulampalam Mariampillai, brought in to conduct the public side of the event, according to Deepak’s testimony, because Cecil Abraham was scared to be seen to be involved himself.
In an act of blistering irony Arulampalam Mariampillai at that conference informed the press that Bala had admitted that his first SD had been compiled under duress so he was retracting it and providing this new one. He then handed out copies of the new SD without taking any questions and ended the press conference immediately. At no point were Bala’s actual lawyers called.
Significantly, Bala’s 2nd SD was similar to the original, save that every referance to Najib Razak (of which there had been a number) had been removed.
Bala was then driven back to the Hilton Hotel to await his family and shortly after the whole family were flown to Bangkok and then on to exile in India where for the next 56 months the family struggled on what they claim were inadequate payments from the conspirators, who had promised to fund their life hidden in exile.
Deepak’s original Defence Statement was devastating in that it admitted all the above details in Selvi’s accusations, although it excused his own role by placing responsibilty squarely with the powerful couple who wanted the SD changed, because Bala had connected Najib to Altantuya’s murder, carried out by his own bodyguards.
Describing himself in that defence statement as the ‘business partner’ of Rosmah, Deepak has darkly hinted that he has plenty to tell about the alleged land deals that he and the then wife of the Deputy Prime Minister engaged in during that period of “business partnership”.
Given the pressure put on Deepak Jaikashan it is perhaps understandable that he has behaved the way he has, changing his testimony and his position on Selvi’s case time and again. It seems plain from his evidence that the businessman has struggled between his concience and a desire to tell the truth and the need to ensure his own financial survival.
Was this the reason why subsequent to his latest U-turn and the submission of Shafee’s revised Statement of Defence on his behalf, a secretive bundle of cash was mysteriously delivered by Deepak, apparently to help the struggling widow, whose case he had once again destroyed at the very last minute?
Sarawak Report understand that Deepak has refused to offer any reason for the RM250,ooo deposited with Selvi’s lawyers, however they have concluded the payment was for their client and have declared it as such before the court, categorising it as an undeclared downpayment of the sum that is actually owed.
The money has been lodged in a protected client account by her lawyers, pending immediate court action over this shocking case.
The highest political figure in the land and several members of his family now face the gravest possible questions about their conduct in a monster cover-up relating to an horrific murder case.
* altered from early version of this story where Sarawak Report had been erroniously given to understand the money was delivered anonymously to Selvi herself. Our apologies for an unfortunate error on a fast-breaking story.
To be updated – breaking story……