KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will hear on Dec 7 an application by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to strike out a suit by the family of the late private investigator P. Balasubramaniam.
The suit was filed by Balasubramaniam’s widow A. Santamil Selvi and their three children to claim for losses incurred during their stay out of the country for five years since 2008.
Lawyer Nor Hazira Abu Haiyan, who represented the Prime Minister and his wife, said the date was fixed when the matter came up for case management before judge Datuk Hue Siew Kheng in chambers today.
She said both parties were ordered to file their submissions before or on Nov 30.
The court has also fixed the same date (Dec 7) to hear a striking out application by Najib’s brothers Datuk Ahmad Johari and Datuk Mohd Nazim, lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham and his son, Sunil Abraham, Commissioner of Oaths Zainal Abidin Muhayat, businessman J. Deepak, and lawyer M. Arunampalam, who are also named as defendants in the suit.
Najib and Rosmah had on Aug 10 filed the striking out application on grounds that the suit filed by Santamil and her children has no locus standi and no reasonable cause of action.
Both of them also claimed that the legal action brought against them was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.
On Dec 2, 2015, the Federal Court dismissed the family’s application for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision which struck out their notice of appeal on April 24 the same year.
On Dec 11, 2014, the High Court dismissed the suit filed by Santamil and her three children B. Kishen, B. Menaga and B. Reeshi.
They had on July 13 this year filed a suit again naming the same people as defendants to claim for losses incurred during their stay in Chennai, India, from July 4, 2008, to March 15, 2013, when Balasubramaniam, 53, died of a heart attack.
In their statement of claim, Santamil said her husband was forced to withdraw his first statutory declaration made on July 1, 2008, pertaining to certain facts in the murder of Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu.
She also claimed that she and her family were wrongfully thrown out of the country after Balasubramaniam, who was appointed as a private investigator in the case by former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, made certain revelations pertaining to the case.
Abdul Razak was one of the accused in the murder trial.
Santamil and her children are seeking damages amounting to RM840,000, including for rental of an apartment in Chennai, India, the children’s school fees and her loss of income as a kindergarten teacher, housing loan, transport costs, general damages, special damages and costs.
MEANWHILE, according to Malaysiakini:
Najib and Rosmah deny all allegations in widow’s suit
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor’s defence statements have described the suit filed by A Santamil Selvi and her children for injury and loss of income during their exile to India for five years’ as a sham and a suit made without basis
They described Santamil’s claims of her late husband being instructed to retract his statutory declaration, which implicates Najib in the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, as having no basis, and designed to embarrass them.
“All the allegations contained in the statement of claim are severely denied.
“The claim discloses no cause of action let alone a reasonable cause of action,” Najib and Rosmah said in their statement of defence, which was sighted by Malaysiakini.
As such, they applied to strike out the lawsuit.
“Paragraph 12, 13, 14, 15 of the statement of claim is not within our knowledge and are accordingly, not admitted and denied,” they added.
Those paragraphs relate to Balasubramaniam’s first statutory declaration and his subsequent retraction in the second declaration.
In their striking out application, they raised the matter of an earlier suit that was filed by Santamil and her family, which was later struck out.
They also noted that they would raise issues of estoppel (which precludes a person from asserting something contrary to what is implied by a previous action or statement) and res judicata (a matter already adjudicated upon by a court, and which may not be pursued further by the same parties).
This is the first time Najib and Rosmah have been required to file their defence in a lawsuit filed against them.
Last month, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Justice Hue Siew Kheng denied a stay application from the nine defendants in the case pending a striking out application, and ordered them to file their defence.
It was reported earlier today that eight of the defendants – Najib, Rosmah, Najib’s siblings Ahmad Johari and Nazim, lawyers Cecil Abraham, Sunil Abraham and M Arulampalam, and commissioner of oaths Zainal Abidin Muhayat – had filed their defence.
Only the defence of carpet businessperson Deepak Jaikishian had not been filed.
Ahmad Johari, in his defence sighted by Malaysiakini, denied playing any role in Balasubramaniam’s retraction, when he denied six paragraphs in Santamil’s statement of claim.
He further denied the widow’s claim for injury and loss suffered due to her purported exile, and also noted that since this claim should be time-barred, since it was made nine years after the event.
Nazim, an architect, who is alleged to have met Balasubramaniam to force a retraction of the first statutory declaration, also denied the version of events put forth by investigator’s widow.
Nazim added in his defence that the plaintiff’s claims are invalid due to the principles of estoppel and res judicata, as the same claims in Santamil’s previous lawsuit were struck out.
NST / MKINI