Jailed after 17 years on the run over graft charges

The law finally caught up with a Malaysian man who had been on the run for more than 17 years after he was slapped with corruption charges.

On Wednesday, Chandraprakasan T.M.S. Shanmugham, 42, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four months' jail for failing to show up in court in 2001.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani said Chandraprakasan had six pending corruption charges against him that year and a pre-trial conference was scheduled for Jan 22, 2001. But Chandraprakasan fled to Malaysia before he was due to appear in court and had no intention of returning, said DPP Vaswani.

A warrant for Chandraprakasan's arrest was subsequently issued.

He was eventually arrested in Penang on March 22 this year and hauled to court the following day.

In his submissions, DPP Vaswani said that by absconding without the intention of returning, Chandraprakasan had intended to not just delay but also "frustrate" judicial proceedings against him.

For failing to appear in court, Chandraprakasan could have been jailed for six months, fined $1,000 or both.

Due to Chandraprakasan's persistent absence, the prosecution in 2001 applied for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal for the corruption charges. This means Chandraprakasan can be prosecuted again if new evidence surfaces.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2018, with the headline 'Jailed after 17 years on the run over graft charges'. Subscribe