Since last Wednesday, Raja Petra has posted five articles in his Malaysia Today blog disparaging P Balasubramaniam, the former private investigator embroiled in the Scorpene controversy.
They range from insinuating he worked for Perimekar - the company that negotiated the Scorpene submarines purchase - to suggesting that the private eye was involved in the murder of Altantuya, the Mongolian woman who allegedly acted as the French interpreter in the multi-billion ringgit deal.
A livid Balasubramaniam (right) has denied the allegations by Raja Petra, who is also known as RPK, the initials of his name.
According to Balasubramaniam, what sparked the fallout between the two him was his lengthy three-part interview with Malaysiakini published earlier this month, in which the private eye described RPK’s controversial remarks aired by TV3 shortly before the Sarawak state election last year as “good news” for the BN.
The day the Balasubramaniam interview appeared in Malaysiakini , RPK shot an angry email to the private investigator, who is now based in India.
"I think there are certain parts of this article, which are very naughty. What is Malaysiakini and Bala trying to do? This is spinning the truth,” said the outraged blogger.
“Well, I shall have to hit back I suppose and tell my side of the story. War is war."
In the email, RPK appended four paragraphs of the interview that had upset him:
“You know these guys, they already got ‘good news' from Perth and they needed more ‘good news’ from India,” said Balasubramaniam cryptically, though he declined to elaborate further.
“It was also around this time Raja Petra Kamaruddin's interview with TV3, which was done during the controversial blogger's visit to Australia, hit the airwaves.
“In the interview, which was also carried by the mainstream TV stations, Raja Petra disavowed his statutory declaration (SD) linking Prime Minister Najib Razak's wife Rosmah Mansor to the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case.
“Raja Petra, who is in self-imposed exile in United Kingdom, alluded that his SD was based on information ‘planted' by PKR leaders desperate to prevent Najib, who was then deputy prime minister, from succeeding Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.”
Six days later, RPK launched his first salvo against Balasubramaniam, in which he equated the private eye, whose full name is Balasubramaniam Perumal or P Balasubramaniam, to an individual named in the French police documents as Bala Subramaniam, who is said to be part of the Perimekar negotiation team.
From this piece of information, RPK alleged that Balasubramaniam was a business proxy of Perimekar director Abdul Razak Baginda, the man at the centre of the Altantuya murder scandal.
Private eye Balasubramaniam had vehemently denied he was the person named in the French documents and said that he had never worked for Perimekar.
The private eye added that while he knew the other ‘Bala Subramaniam' as both were involved in the security business, the last time he saw the man was after being introduced to Razak, when he took the 10-day job in 2006 to stop Altantuya from harassing her former lover and demanding US$500,000 (RM1,567,255) from the Perimekar boss, allegedly for her part in the Scorpene deal.
Balasubramaniam said that in 2000 - the year the other Bala Subramaniam was on the Perimekar negotiation team - he was working for Rentak Gagah Security Services, based in Petaling Jaya.
Lost in translation
Even more bizarre is RPK’s allegation that Balasubramaniam could have been an accomplice in the Altantuya murder, and suggested that he may even be a hired killer.
The private eye told Malaysiakini that he had never killed anyone in his life, even when he was with the police Special Branch.
RPK has also pointed out a contradiction in Balasubramaniam’s account on what happened on Altantuya’s final day.
In his SD, Balasubramaniam said he sent a text message (SMS) to Razak on encountering the Mongolian woman outside the latter's house, and Razak had responded by instructing him to “delay her” until his men arrived.
However, in the French police statement, Balasubramaniam said that Razak (left) did not respond to his SMS message.
Asked about this, Balasubramaniam told Malaysiakini that it was likely to be an error in the English to French translation.
He insisted that Razak did reply to him that day, and it was this SMS that exonerated him from involvement in the murder, after he was repeatedly interrogated for many days by the Malaysian police.
Meanwhile, PKR leader R Sivarasa has dismissed RPK’s allegations as "malicious fiction", and described the blogger's postings as his "usual spin of mixing truth and fiction".
Sivarasa (right) said he did not coach Balasubramaniam, as alleged by the blogger, on how to deal with the press conference at which Balasubramaniam revealed his first SD, nor did he pay the private eye for doing so.
RPK dedicated his final posting on rebutting Balasubramaniam’s denial, focusing mostly on the ‘two Bala’ issue.
However, RPK was silent on a major factual error which was pointed out by Balasubramaniam: that the blogger, in one of his postings, claimed that according to the private eye, the man in a blue Proton car that passed by Razak's house on that night of Altantuya’s murder was Musa Safri, a senior police officer who was then deputy prime minister Najib Razak’s aide-de-camp.
The man who Balasubramaniam saw that night - and this was stated in his SD - was not Musa Safri but Nasir Safar , who later became Najib’s special officer.
"I think RPK made a major blunder there. If you look at his past postings, the person whom I identified was Nasir, after I saw his picture giving the controversial racist (Biro Tatanegara) talk. It was definitely not Musa.”
Nasir resigned as Najib's aide soon after the controversy erupted.
Bala a carpetbagger?
RPK’s postings have painted Balasubramaniam as a ‘carpetbagger’ willing to sell his services to the highest bidder, be it the government or opposition.
However, his lawyer Americk Sidhu rejected this, arguing that the private eye would not have offered to return RM100,000 to Deepak Jaikishan, the man who allegedly paid the private eye to disavow his first SD and later sought to bribe him with further cash payments and a condominium in Kuala Lumpur.
Deepak (right) had allegedly banked in RM100,000 into Balasubramaniam’s wife account as well as delivered a copy of the sale-and-purchase agreement for the condominium, estimated to worth RM500,000, which was made in his wife's name.
To back his contention, Americk released the following email to Malaysiakini , which he sent to Deepak on April 24 last year:
I act for Mr Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal, also known as PI Bala.
My client has informed me that he has been approached by your goodself and one ASP Suresh to prepare an audio visual recording of a script prepared by yourself and/or your servants or agents, the contents of which are within your knowledge and securely stored in my laptop and the laptops of both Mr Manjeet Singh Dhillon and Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, the other counsel representing PI Bala.
My client further informs me that in consideration of the preparation, transmission and subsequent planned airing of this audio visual recording on Malaysian prime time television on Wednesday, 20th April 2011, you offered him the following inducements:
A sum of RM100,000 to be paid in cash. The transfer of property known as Apartment A-19-11(D), 19th Floor, Tower A, Berjaya Times Square, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur, into the name of my client’s wife, valued at RM500,000.
My client further informs me that you have caused to be transferred into his wife's account with the EON Bank, Kuala Lumpur, a sum of RM100,000 in cash on 20 April 2011, and have secured the signature of the Vendors of the above mentioned apartment on a Sale & Purchase Agreement to my client’s wife as the Purchaser, dated 19 April 2011.
Please be informed that my client is not desirous of accepting your kind offer and as such is declining to proceed with the events as planned for the simple reason that the script you have prepared for him contains very many factual mistruths and in no way reflects the correct sequence of events my client has been involved in, which have taken place since July 2008.
In the circumstances, my client’s wife will not proceed to execute the aforementioned Sale & Purchase Agreement and also seeks to return the RM100,000 paid into her EON Bank account to your goodself.
Please could you therefore forward to me your bank account details so that I may be able to arrange for the refund of the RM100,000 to you.
My client and his family are also desirous of returning to Malaysia in the near future and seek your assistance in utilising your good offices and connections to ensure that their body and souls remain intact and that they also remain free from any form of harassment both official and unofficial.
I trust you appreciate the situation and as such I look forward to your immediate response.
Malaysiakini has contacted Deepak for his comments, but he has declined to say anything on the matter.
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