Probe up in the Aiyer

2014-10-16 00:00

NO action has been taken against controversial top cop Rajen Aiyer 11 months after a magistrate recommended that the provincial commissioner probe his conduct.

Aiyer has been at the centre of several controversies and is set to be a key witness in the case against the so called “Cato Manor death squad”.

Regional Court magistrate Anand Maharaj was so perturbed by Aiyer’s testimony in a robbery case that he suggested provincial commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni’s office investigate potential charges of misconduct and defeating the ends of justice against him.

In his testimony, it came to light that he had allegedly:

• Contaminated a crime scene;

• Obstructed his girlfriend Vanitta Naidoo from testifying, and;

• Written her statement for her and had her sign it, with it not commissioned in her presence.

Maharaj confirmed yesterday that the order remained in place.

“I know that the transcripts were delivered to the commissioner because they were signed for,” he said.

He said that taking action against Aiyer was the prerogative of police top brass.

“My order had no timeframe attached to it and it merely instructed the police to take action and investigate if they saw fit. It is their prerogative if they chose to ignore my order. The order I issued was to bring attention to his [Aiyer’s] conduct in court when he was obstructive and prevented his girlfriend from testifying,” he added.

“One year is sufficient time to conduct such an investigation, given that Aiyer is a senior police officer and that misconduct or defeating the ends of justice are serious charges.” Maharaj said.

Aiyer and his girlfriend were robbed at knifepoint in August last year, and both were key witnesses in the case.

Cracks emerged in Aiyer’s testimony, prompting Maharaj to issue the stinging order after withdrawing robbery charges against the accused.

“During the course of Aiyer’s evidence, the court had some concerns of possible misconduct that I would like the provincial commissioner to investigate.

“For contaminating the crime scene at the time accused two was shot, taking pictures, taking videos of the scene and going to view the CCTV footage at the Metro offices without any permission to do so. For phoning the provincial office in order to sensitise them about this matter, questioning the point of having an equality provision of equal protection before the law and equal protection of the law if policemen are more equal than others when they are complainants.

“But what is of concern to me, as a police officer that has longstanding experience, is the possible obstruction of justice, defeating the course of justice in having a statement typed for his girlfriend who didn’t make it, or didn’t commission it before a commissioned officer, who had no knowledge of its contents,” Maharaj ordered.

He had ordered that the transcripts be hand-delivered to Ngobeni for her “perusal and action, if need be”.

This comes in the wake of another scathing indictment of Aiyer, made by Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC.

Cassim presided over the internal police disciplinary hearing of Major General Johan Booy­sen, who was accused of leading a “death squad”.

He defined Aiyer as a terrible witness, who lived in a “world of make believe”.

“I think those in charge of the SAPS ought to carefully consider Colonel Aiyer’s continuous role in the police force. In his quest for self-importance and acceptance, he was determined to tarnish Booysen’s reputation irrespective of the overall interests of the police force.”

Repeated attempts to contact Aiyer and Ngobeni via telephone and SMS proved unsuccessful at the time of going to print yesterday.

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