The former police officer has revealed that a serving deputy minister, whom he secretly met twice last year, had offered to let him and his family return to live in peace in Malaysia, promising to get him the minimum possible fine and jail time.
“Maybe he feels the BN is not safe and at least he should put things in order, close my case,” Malaysiakini reported Bala as saying.
In 2008, fearing for his life, Bala and his family had fled to Chennai, India after he made a statutory declaration exposing the relationship between Najib, Altantuya and Razak Baginda.
According to Bala, Altantuya came to Kuala Lumpur to collect her share of commission from the Scorpenes purchase sanctioned by Najib, who was then the defense minister in charge of arms procurements. Bala also said it was Najib who introduced her to Bagina and that both men had been lovers with her.
Bala was hired by Baginda to stop Altantuya from blackmailing him. A close friend of Najib’s, Baginda had brokered the Malaysian government’s RM7.3 bil purchase of 2 Scorpene submarines from French arms giant DCNS.
The controversial deal is now being examined in the French courts, with DCNS accused of having bribed Malaysian officials including Najib to seal the purchase. Baginda is also believed to have Najib’s ‘front-man’ in receiving the bribe, while Altantuya was murdered in Malaysia in 2006. Her father has said she came to Malaysia to “see Najib, to discuss something with”.
Repeated attempts to get Najib off the hook
Meanwhile, according to Bala, the deputy minister made the offer a few months after a second attempt to bribe him to malign Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim ahead of the Sarawak state election that was held in April, 2011.
“It is not going to stop here, after this there is the Scorpene trial. My name is there as one of the witnesses. Maybe he (the deputy minister) wants to put all this to a stop,” said Bala.
He believes the deputy minister was trying to find a way to end the speculation in a way that would pre-empt the damage to Najib’s image. Since the French trial begain in early April, the prime minister’s credibility both at home and abroad has taken a beating as Malaysians continued to query his involvement with Altantuya.
Not only does Bala’s statutory document link Najib to Altantuya, but DCNS officials have admitted Altantuya’s connection to the Scorpenes deal, acknowledging her presence at one meeting.
This compounds the view that Altantuya was killed because of her knowledge of the illicit commissions paid by DCNS to the Malaysian officials, which could include Baginda and Najib.
Two of Najib’s former bodyguards have been sentenced to hang for the killing in a trial that has been lambasted as skewed, with the judge refusing to acknowledge any motive or link to Najib’s Scorpenes purchase even though one of the bodyguards had alleged he was offered RM100,000 to kill her.
Baginda who was charged for abetting the two bodyguards was controversially cleared of all charges and left the country days after his acquittal.
Wanted to turn the tables on the deputy minister
Bala had in 2010 offered to reveal all the details that he knew to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission in London. The meeting was cancelled at the 11th hour, with the MACC U-turning on its earlier agreement. However, it sent a list of questions for Bala to answer. Soon after, the Malaysian government announced that it had decided to close the case against Bala for making his statutory declaration. The government had wanted to charge Bala because he had overturned his first statutory declaration with another the following day.
The private eye has since revealed that he was ‘hijacked’ and no less than Najib’s brother, Nazim, had met him and gave him money to overturn his first statutory declaration and leave Malaysia. Nazim has refused comment while the government has not initiated any probe on this matter.
According to Bala, if he had done as the deputy minister suggested and pleaded guilty to the charge of having made a false statement, it would invalidate all his subsequent testimonies.
Balas revealed a businessman friend, Siva, had visited him in Chennai prior to the 2011 Sarawak state elections and later hooked him up with the deputy minister. And this is how the offer of a ‘minimum’ fine of RM1,000 and 1-week jail sentence came about.
The cautious Bala admitted that he had planned to turn the tables on the ‘datuk’. He said that he kept detailed records of what had happened and had planned to negate the deal once charged in court.
According to him, he would have plead not guilty instead to make sure more details of what happened to him would be exposed during the full trial that would result. However, till now, there has been no further news from the ‘datuk’.
“It’s going to be a long trial, every s**t is going to come out. Do you think they are going to charge me? I don’t think so… That is why the September (2010) plan was put off. If I go to trial… bad s**t,” he said.
“I was very cautious. What if suddenly they send me to prison for one year? Suddenly maximum sentence for me, I am taking a risk here.”
Businessman friend introduced Bala to deputy minister
According to the Malaysiakini interview conducted a month ago, Bala said “Siva is a businessman, he does not get involved in all this. When he came to India, I told him what had happened – first SD, second SD and all that, he got the full picture of what happened.”
To this, Siva told him that if he really wanted to come back to Malaysia for good, the businessman was willing to talk to his “sources” on how to “put things back on the right track”, to which Bala then agreed.
Upon his return to Malaysia, Siva called Bala and arranged for him to fly to Singapore where the businessman and his nephew met him before bringing him to meet a “datuk” and his wife at a shopping mall in Orchard Road.
The datuk’s wife, however, did not join their conversation as she was shopping.
“He (the datuk) was asking questions about the whole story. I told him everything,” said Bala, adding that the politician seemed impressed with what he had said and promised to contact him soon.
The meeting, Bala said, was his first with a government minister and he did not recognise who the politician was at first, only finding out the deputy minister’s identity later.
He returned to India, and two weeks later Siva called him again, this time asking him to return to Malaysia as the datuk wanted to see him.
Sneaked home through Bukit Kayu Hitam
Returning secretly via Bukit Kayu Hitam, Balasubramaniam related how he was “kept” for 10 days at a prestigious apartment complex where the datuk asked him to write “in my own words and my own handwriting” his entire involvement in the Altantuya-Scorpene saga.
After writing down his personal account – eight pages in all – Balas met the datuk again on his last day in Malaysia.
He described how the datuk offered him and his family a way to return safely home if he agreed to be charged in court for fabricating his first SD.
If he were to be charged, Bala stands to face a fine and jail term of up to 10 years as provided for under section 199 of the Penal Code for breaching the Statutory Declarations Act 1960.
“They will fine me RM1,000, and at first they want to put me behind bars for one week.”
When Bala disagreed with the prison sentence, the datuk tried to cajole him: “You know lah what kind of prison it is.”
But when Bala remained adamant, the datuk called a prominent lawyer over to the apartment for advice, who later assured him that they can get him sentenced to a RM1,000 fine with no jail time.
“I said okay. (There was) no money offered. The offer is that I can come back safely.”
The datuk then told him to go back to India and they would arrange for his return in September 2011 to face the charges.
But there was no follow through and Bala suspects the minister must have been worried Bala would ‘double-cross’ him.