PMB cops in the dock

2012-07-31 00:00

FORMER Mountain Rise police station commander Hariram Badul believes his right to a fair trial was infringed by a biased and unconstitutional police investigation.

Yesterday he named four policemen who he said should not have been involved in the investigation because there was a “history of animosity” between him and the officers.

Badul is accused of heading a criminal racketeering enterprise and other crimes.

At the start of his trial in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, Badul denied committing any of the offences he has been charged with.

Badul said this in a statement presented to Judge Rashid Vahed and his assessors by his advocate, Christo van Schalkwyk.

Badul and his four co-accused — Suresh Naraindath, Yunus Khan, Bhekuyise Nkabini and Sigamoney Pillay — pleaded not guilty to all charges against them. The men face 128 charges of racketeering, fraud, theft, corruption and money laundering.

Naraindath and Khan were senior officials in the SA Police Service at the time of the alleged offences. Nkabini was a constable and Pillay a civilian businessman.

State advocate Wendy Greef said the prosecution would set out to prove that Badul was the master-mind behind a pattern of racketeering activity involving his co-accused and others.

Some would testify as state witnesses in the case.

“He [Badul] called the shots and ultimately he reaped almost all the benefits,” she said in outlining the state’s case.

In his written plea detailing his defence, Badul denied all counts in the indictment.

“I deny forming, conducting, participating or managing any operation or activities of any enterprise … I deny in particular that I was a so-called primary decision-maker or planner of any enterprise,” he said.

“I plead that there was a lack of unbiased and constitutional police investigation in the matter and that the pre-trial investigative pro-cesses were unfair and as such infringed my right to a fair trial,” he added.

Badul named four policemen who he said ought not to have been involved in the investigation of his case “given a history of animosity” between them.

They are Colonel S. Naidoo, Colonel Govender, Captain Gounden and an Inspector Adimoolum. Badul claimed that applications for search warrants made by Naidoo were “tainted with bias” and infringed his rights to a fair trial and privacy.

His advocate told the court these allegations were intended to serve as a warning to the state that Badul intended to raise these constitutional issues during the trial.

The only other accused to outline his defence was Khan, who said he was based at Loop Street police station at the time and was not obliged to obey Badul.

“In fact at no stage did he in any event try to instruct me.”

Khan denied receiving any benefits from Badul or anyone else linked to the case.

He specifically denied being part of an enterprise or having formed a common purpose with anyone to commit crime.

The other three accused elected to remain silent at this stage of the case.

The prosecution alleges that the men were part of an enterprise whose was to procure goods and services — ostensibly on behalf of Mountain Rise police station — in order to derive personal benefits.

The trial has been set down for the next three months.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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