SINGAPORE — A man who was shot by a Singapore Police Force (SPF) officer after he grabbed his revolver was charged on Friday (6 November).
Prakash Mathivanan, 36, was charged alongside his girlfriend Malani Naidu Prabhakar Naidu, 33, and co-accused Nikhil M Durgude, 22, both of whom appeared in court via videolink on Friday.
All three were allegedly part of a group of seven involved in a series of cheating cases, where offenders made use of other persons’ particulars to apply for and purchase new handsets and phone lines from a Telco.
The alleged offenders would make the initial payment using stolen credit card details and, after receiving the brand new handsets, sell them for cash. The telco involved purportedly incurred a loss of about $43,000 from the handset sales.
Two men allegedly caused hurt to police officer
Prakash and Nikhil were each handed a fresh charge of voluntarily causing hurt to a public servant to prevent him from discharging his duty. These are in addition to their pending charges.
Each was said to have voluntarily caused hurt to a Staff Sergeant by punching and kicking him at about 1.19am on Thursday at the condominium.
Addressing the court through video-link on Friday, Nikhil denied attacking a police officer and said he did not understand why he was being remanded.
The prosecution applied to have Nikhil remanded for psychiatric treatment, however District Judge Tan Jen Tse pointed out the investigation officer’s report had only mentioned depression, which was not sufficient for Nikhil to be remanded for psychiatric observation.
The judge allowed the prosecution’s application to have Nikhil remanded for a week to assist with investigations.
Nikhil was previously placed under police supervision and faces pending charges involving rioting, drugs, and failing to comply with supervision obligations.
Prakash also given fresh cheating charge
Prakash was also charged with cheating Singtel on 14 October by deceiving the telco into believing that he was a person known as “Solomon Thomas Fernandez”, and that “Solomon” intended to purchase seven iPhone handsets valued at $14,273 from an industrial building at 140 Paya Lebar Road.
He is said to have induced Singtel to deliver the handsets to a Muhammad Firdaus Abdul Rahman.
On 5 October 2018, Prakash was sentenced to 34 months’ jail by District Judge Jasvender Kaur on charges of cheating and unauthorised access to computer material. He appealed against his sentence but this was dismissed by Justice See Kee Oon on 23 January last year.
He has another set of offences, involving drugs, cheating and theft, which are pending before the court.
Prakash’s girlfriend charged
Separately, Malani was handed one charge of cheating. She is also accused of masquerading as “Solomon Thomas Fernandez” in order to cheat SingTel.
The prosecution applied to have Malani remanded for a week with permission from the court to take her out for investigations for a series of “similar offences”.
All three will return to court on 13 November.
If convicted of causing hurt to a public servant to prevent him from discharging his duty, either man faces a jail term of up to seven years, or a fine, or caning, or any combination of the penalties.
If convicted of cheating, she faces a jail term of up to 10 years, and a fine.
Prakash was shot during struggle for revolver
As part of operations to nab the perpetrators, three SPF officers entered a residential unit at City Suites condominium along Balestier Road, at 1am on 5 November.
The trio identified themselves as police officers and found four of the alleged offenders in the unit. These were Prakash, Malani, and Nikhil, and a 23-year-old woman.
According to the police, while in the unit, Prakash lunged at one of the officers and attacked him repeatedly, causing the officer to fall on the floor, bleeding. A second officer warned Prakash to stop his assault to no avail. The officer then saw Nikhil approaching the assaulted officer.
Concerned with the safety of his partner, the second officer drew his revolver and warned Prakash to stop his assault, but the latter did not comply.
Instead, Prakash rushed the second officer and grabbed his revolver, resulting in a struggle. At this point, Nikhil also assaulted the first officer. To protect himself and prevent Prakash from snatching the revolver, the officer shot at Prakash and hit his abdomen, but did not manage to stop him.
Prakash and Nikhil were eventually subdued by backup officers. Prakash was attended to by paramedics before he was conveyed conscious to the hospital. He is in a stable condition.
Both men, Malani and the 23-year-old women were arrested, with the latter two fingered for cheating and suspected drug consumption. Malani is also wanted for other cheating offences and for failing to attend court.
The police also seized around $20,000 of suspected criminal proceeds, along with drugs and various drug paraphernalia.
The remaining members of the group of seven are two men, aged 18 and 32, and an 18-year-old woman, who have all been apprehended. The 32-year-old man was arrested on 3 November along Lorong 23 Geylang when police officers intercepted a delivery of six handsets purchased by the offenders.
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