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Bunker search leads police to drill into Tommy's home JAKARTA - Using drills and jack hammers until late on Monday night, the police were still trying to open an alleged underground bunker below the residence of fugitive Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, despite President Abdurrahman Wahid's claim that Tommy was hiding in a former general's house. "We need special equipment to continue drilling into the floor of Tommy's fitness center. We have gone a little beyond 20 centimeters, and we'll keep on going until we reach it," Comr. Rycko Amelza Daniel of the City Police Detectives unit told The Jakarta Post on Monday night.
"We believe that a door is hidden under 50 centimeters of marble flooring... and that the alleged bunker goes into the residence of Tommy's father (Soeharto) on Jl. Cendana (Menteng, Central Jakarta)." After conducting raids in over 100 places nationwide last week, including the Surakarta residence of former Minister of Defense and Security, Gen. (ret) Wiranto, police suspect that the 38-year Tommy could be hiding in the alleged bunker. Tommy has been on the run since November after President Abdurrahman Wahid rejected his pardon proposal over an 18-month jail term imposed for a graft case by the Supreme Court.
Senior police officers, Tommy's nephew Ari Sigit, Tommy's lawyers Elza Syarief and Nudirman Munir, and the Soeharto family lawyer, Juan Felix Tampubolon, were among those present during the Monday afternoon drilling. Juan told reporters that police were "illegally breaking the floors of Tommy's home," as the police had no warrant from any court in Jakarta to break the floor of the fugitive's home. "The police only have a search warrant. We strongly object to this demolition and will soon take legal action. This demolition has nothing to do with the confiscation of Tommy's home and police need to have a permit for demolition," Juan told reporters.
In response, Jakarta Police detectives chief for general crimes Adj. High Comr. Tito Karnavian said that other than the search warrant, police were abiding by existing regulations. "Take a look at Article 34 of the Criminal Code Procedures. You'll know what I mean," Tito told reporters. The Article states that in the case of emergency situations, where investigators must act immediately before being able to obtain an official permit, investigators can carry out raids on specified places, including a suspect's residence or the place where a suspect is hiding. Tampubolon described the hidden room as an old warehouse and denied Tommy was using it as a place of hiding.
In a recent interview with Newsweek, President Abdurrahman said the government knew where Tommy was hiding. "He lives in the house of a former general. We know exactly where the house is. The problem is having enough evidence for the police to act. They will when the time is right," Abdurrahman said as quoted by the US magazine. Meanwhile, a member of National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) Koesparmono Irsan said police have no choice but to prove through scientific investigation that "there is a bunker under Tommy's house". "I believe that only with solid and scientific evidence, can the police proceed in their search for Tommy.
"Competent forensic experts have to check the building again and the police will have to be ready to admit the (forensic findings) whether they are successful or not," Koesparmono told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a forensic training session on Monday. "But then again, if the bunker really does exist, will he (Tommy) be stupid enough to hide there? Police have to figure out their next step then," Koesparmono, a retired police general, said.



Posted in Crime @ 16 January 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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