Tue, 09 Nov 1999

Light shed on controversial cases

JAKARTA (JP): National Police forensics laboratory (Puslabfor) revealed in an unprecedented move on Monday portions of the truth in connection with at least two nationally controversial and undisclosed cases.

Chief Brig. Gen. Suwahyu and deputy chief Col. Dudon Satya Putra, shed some light on the 1997 fire at the Central Bank building which claimed 15 lives, and the brutal 1986 murder of fashion model Dietje Budiasih Budimulyono.

"In the bank case, the fire was caused on purpose ... it was pure sabotage. The damaging evidence was found on the 18th floor of the building ... thinner had been used to light the fire," Dudon told reporters, during a break in a press meeting on environmental issues.

"From the evidence we found at the crime scene, we can deduce that the fire was a deliberate attempt to destroy important documents, which were burnt on the four floors of the building."

Another Puslabfor officer, who requested anonymity, said a recent reinvestigation into the case, which began in late June this year, revealed that the documents contained data relating to 16 banks liquidated in August, 1997.

"There were also data regarding corruption by at least two former Bank Indonesia directors," he said, refusing to elaborate further.

Suwahyu said the actual parties, who committed the crimes remained unidentified.

The fire on Dec. 8, 1997, dubbed an inferno by some of the bank's employees at the time, gutted the top four floors of a 25- story building, one of the bank's office towers on Jl. Thamrin, Central Jakarta.

Nine of the 15 dead suffocated in lifts on the 23rd and 24th floors of the central bank's building, which was scheduled to be inaugurated a few months later. The other victims burned to death on the same floors.

No official statement about the cause of the fire was ever released. The fire was attributed in 1997 to a minor accident caused by a welding tool, which resulted in grave consequences.

On the murder of 34-year-old pregnant model Dietje, Lt. Col. Bambang Wahyu of Puslabfor's development division said the declared killer Mohammad Siradjuddin, alias Pak De, was a retired Army officer who was a trained shooter and had earlier been posted at the Army Artillery.

Earlier, the convicted paranormal Pak De said in August last year that he was an innocent man, who had "confessed" to the killing, due to the mental pressure of seeing his two sons undergo continued physical torture.

"Pak De reconstructed the entire scene in front of several police officers. He showed us exactly how he shot, and where. A girl was made to sit in the driver's seat, where Dietje had been shot to death in the white Honda Accord sedan," Bambang told The Jakarta Post.

"Pak De, who was then seated in the passenger's seat, showed how he had pulled the girl's head to his side and fired five shots at a very close range."

"Before this reconstruction, Puslabfor had already determined through examination of the wounds and the gunshot residue left on the wounds, which was the first, the second, third and so on shots," he said.

"This was never revealed to anybody outside of the ballistics unit. Not even the police investigators. If Pak De is no killer, how did he know which shot was made first?"

Bambang added that the Puslabfor investigation, which went on for six months from the time of death on Sept. 8, 1986, concluded that the revolver belonged to a security guard of the now defunct Bank Bapindo.

A Puslabfor report on the case failed to mention how the revolver got into the hands of the then suspected killer, Pak De.

"The only way to uncover the mystery is if the Indonesian courts demand a reinvestigation into it."(ylt)