Fri, 30 Nov 2001

Police urged to solve cases linked to Tommy

Praise and warnings for the National Police from legislators were flowing on Thursday following the capture of the country's most- wanted fugitive Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra.

The police are now tasked to carry out a thorough investigation against Tommy, whom the police have linked to a number of criminal cases including the assassination of Supreme Court Justice, Judge Syaifuddin Kartasasmita and a number of bomb cases.

The chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) faction at the House of Representatives, Roy B.B. Janis, warned the police not to accord special treatment to Tommy, saying that the police should be professional in carrying out their duties.

"The legal proceedings should be upheld as fairly as possible and the police should never hesitate to process Tommy's case," Roy was quoted by Antara as saying.

While holding firmly to the presumption of innocence, the police must unravel cases allegedly involving Tommy such as the assassination of Judge Syaifuddin, the man who found him guilty, as well as illegal possession of arms and explosives.

"The police should be able to clearly and transparently reveal (those allegations) because they were the ones who made them public," said Roy, adding: "The police should have evidence relating to the allegations against Tommy."

Meanwhile, Golkar legislator Slamet Effendi Yusuf said Tommy should also immediately explain his two meetings with former president Abdurrahman Wahid, or Gus Dur as he is popularly known.

"At that time the public thought that there was already a deal between Tommy and Gus Dur, but the agreement apparently failed to materialize. He (Tommy) has to explain the two meetings," he said.

According to Slamet, the two meetings could have served as indications or reasons for Tommy becoming a fugitive after his presidential pardon was rejected.

He said the police should be able to explain the case based on presumptions made public earlier.

Da'i Bachtiar, the new police chief, should resolve the cases clearly," Slamet said.

President Megawati Soekarnoputri installed Da'i as the new National Police chief on Thursday replacing Surojo Bimantoro who is retiring at the end of this month.

The legislators, however, were united in their praise for the police in the arrest of Tommy.

They also ruled out the possibility that Tommy's arrest, or his surrender as alleged by Tommy's lawyers, had any political underpinnings, despite the fact that Tommy's capture came just one day before the change of leadership in the police force.

"I do not see any political engineering in Tommy's arrest," said Deputy House Speaker Soetardjo Soerjogoeritno of PDI Perjuangan.

Patrialis Akbar of the Reform Faction also expressed a similar view, saying Tommy's arrest was an achievement that should be appreciated.

"We appreciate the police's achievement that they were able to arrest Tommy," Patrialis, a member of the House Commission II overseeing, among other things, security affairs, told The Jakarta Post.

Ibrahim Ambong of the Golkar Party also expressed his appreciation to the police for the arrest of Tommy, the youngest son of former president Soeharto.

Tommy, who went missing in November 2000 after then-president Wahid refused to pardon him, was arrested by police on Wednesday, more than one year after Judge Syaifuddin sentenced him to 18 months in prison for corruption in a land-swap deal that inflicted losses worth tens of billions of rupiah to taxpayers.