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Little India Riot COI: Eatery owner must testify, says COI chairman

Published on Mar 22, 2014 9:38 AM
 
The aftermath of a riot in Little India on Dec 8, 2013. Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee and the Central Narcotics Bureau's lead investigator Adam Fashe Huddin will take the stand at the public hearing into the Little India riot, which is due to end next week. -- ST FILE PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO 

Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee and the Central Narcotics Bureau's lead investigator Adam Fashe Huddin will take the stand at the public hearing into the Little India riot, which is due to end next week.

However, Committee of Inquiry (COI) chairman G. Pannir Selvam said the public hearing will not end without the evidence of Mr Ramakrishnan Ponnaiah, the owner of Kodai canteen. His eatery near the junction of Kerbau Road and Chander Road was used by some rioters as a staging point during the violence.

Mr Ponnaiah was originally due to give evidence on Monday but State Counsel Tan Soo Tet told the committee that day that the witness was overseas.

He was then scheduled to appear on Wednesday but State Counsel David Khoo said he was still out of the country and is due to return today.

"If he doesn't come back (on Saturday)... even if it means next month, he must be made to give evidence," said Mr Selvam. "Otherwise, we are sending a wrong message."

Ninety witnesses have already testified before the COI over the last 22 days.

So far, five Indian nationals have each been sentenced to between 15 and 18 weeks' jail for failing to disperse when ordered to do so by police on Dec 8 last year.

LIM YAN LIANG