Death in custody a damning indictment for police force

Gobind-Singh-Deo (1)

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo said the death of P. Chandran is a damning indictment against the police force

The death of lorry driver P. Chandran while in police custody is proof that greater accountability within the police force can no longer be simply ‘talked about’ but actually implemented.

A DAP lawmaker today rapped Inspector General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar for the ‘unlawful, negligent and inhumane’ treatment of Chandran while he was in police detention, and called for those responsible to be criminally liable for Chandran’s death. 

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo in a statement said: “This is a most damning indictment against the police, something which both the IGP and Home Ministry should be ashamed of.”

Chandran, 47, was arrested September 6 last year after an Indonesian woman lodged a police report that her baby had been abducted. It was later revealed that the baby was to have been adopted by Chandran’s brother-in-law but the woman had changed her mind. He was in police custody for four days.

A coroners court had on January 16 ruled that Chandran’s death from hypertensive heart disease on September 10, 2012, was due to the negligence of the police force to provide him with his medication and timely medical assistance. 

Coroner Ahmad Bache according to reports said police were aware of Chandran’s medical condition, and police officers from the Cheras and Dang Wangi district headquarters had “committed unlawful omission by not giving Chandran his medication and sending him to hospital.

Ahmad said that closed-circuit television (CCTV) images showed Chandran died at 7.48am but police had reported his death only 12 hours later.

Gobind said it is obvious that there is an attitude problem within the police force. 

“We seem to have officers who despite all else, just do not have the sense nor conscience to deal with people in their custody humanely,” he said.


In 2013, it was revealed in Parliament that there were a total of 231 deaths in police custody between the year 2000 and May 2013.

One of these cases which sparked public outrage was the death of 32-year-old Dhamendran Narayanasamy.

Dhamendran was reported dead due to breathing difficulties on May 21, 2013 after 11 days in police custody. However, a post-mortem conducted found more than 50 injuries on the deceased body.

Gobind said strict liability is the solution to the problem.

“I am of the view that if we are to fix the problem and rid ourselves of it altogether, we must make these officers and their immediate superiors strictly accountable. To do this, we must instil within them the fear of stern punishment and civil liability in the event incidents like these occur under their watch.

“I have in the past suggested that laws be enacted in order to make officers in charge of police stations and investigating officers liable criminally for hurt caused and deaths  in their custody. I have also suggested that laws be enacted to make the government and these officers automatically liable in civil actions for injuries and deaths in their custody, subject of course to their ability to show that they had taken all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the detainees,” he said. 

Gobind urged the IGP to state what steps, aside from the long-proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), that he (Khalid) is prepared to take to end deaths in police custody once and for all. 

The Rocket

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