Cop accused of removing evidence, maid abuse

Prema Naraynasamy, 58, being brought back to the crime scene by police for investigations on Aug 3, 2016.
Prema Naraynasamy, 58, being brought back to the crime scene by police for investigations on Aug 3, 2016. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Last month, a 37-year-old police officer's wife and mother-in-law were charged with murdering their Myanmar maid.

Yesterday, Kevin Chelvam was himself accused of maid abuse and removing evidence that could incriminate the suspects.

He faces four charges - two of abusing Ms Piang Ngaih Don, 24, one of giving a false statement to a police officer and another of removing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras from his home.

His wife, Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 36, and mother-in-law, Prema Naraynasamy, 58, allegedly killed Ms Piang in a ninth-floor flat at Block 145, Bishan Street 11 between July 25 and 26.

Police had received a call at about 11am on July 26 for help.

When they arrived, Ms Piang - the mother of a three-year-old boy - was found motionless and pronounced dead at the scene.

Chelvam is accused of abusing the maid. He allegedly hit her left shoulder with a toy bat on July 23. A day later, he allegedly grabbed her hair, lifting her off the ground in the process.

On July 26, after the alleged murder, Chelvam also allegedly removed a CCTV recorder system from his home in a bid to remove evidence of the crime. He was helped in the alleged misdeed by Prema.

But Chelvam told a Criminal Investigation Officer that same day that the CCTV cameras were removed half a year ago at the request of one of his flat tenants.

This caused the officer to "cease searching for CCTV evidence that is relevant to the investigation", the court heard.

Chelvam, a police staff sergeant, was suspended from service on Monday.

In a statement to The Straits Times, a police spokesman said officers "are expected to uphold the law and set a good example by maintaining high standards of discipline and integrity", and officers who break the law will be dealt with.

Chelvam is out on bail and will next appear in court on Sept 8.

Prema and Gaiyathiri were also in court yesterday, where they were ordered to be remanded for psychiatric evaluation. They will appear in court again on Sept 1.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2016, with the headline 'Cop accused of removing evidence, maid abuse'. Print Edition | Subscribe