Sat, 13 May 2000

Council chairman rejects summons

TANGERANG (JP): Calling the allegations baseless, ousted chairman of Tangerang Council Gian Sugiharto decided on Friday not to meet the police summons to testify over his alleged involvement in a mob attack on the council building on April 24.

"I will not comply with the police's summons as they accuse me of masterminding the mob attack.

"They cannot put me up as a suspect based on the testimonies of four Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) cadres who have been held in police detention since the incident," Gian said in his house in Keroncong, Jatiuwung, Tangerang.

He said the four were practically forced by the police to name him as a prime suspect.

"Their bodies were full of bruises resulting from the beating by officers," he said.

"All these (allegations) are a grand scheme to smear PDI Perjuangan and to bring me down," he added.

Tangerang Police chief Lt. Col. Pudji Hartanto has named Gian as a suspect in the incident, which led to Gian's dismissal from his post as council speaker by a group of 35 legislators.

Three of Gian's deputies were also fired in a plenary session on Monday.

The mob attack took place shortly after Gian's decision to allow 72 hectares of land in Koang Jaya subdistrict to be developed into a project to redirect the water from the Ciliwung and Cisadane rivers, without following council guidelines.

Gian's decision led a majority of councillors to launch a no- confidence vote against him.

Hundreds of people claiming themselves to be local PDI Perjuangan supporters ran amok on April 24 during a protest at the council building. They demanded the resignation of four PDI Perjuangan councillors, who they said had betrayed their party because they had voted for a motion of no-confidence against Gian.

Besides damaging windows and other parts of the council building, located on busy Jl. Nyimas Melati, the group also beat councillor and PDI Perjuangan faction chairman Teddy Subrata and local resident Ahmad Sanusi. (41/edt)