Balldev Naidu, a founding member of the Reform Party in Singapore, has been extradited to the United States on charges of terrorism. The 48-year-old businessman is believed to have been moved to the US sometime last Friday. There, he will face two charges of conspiring to provide arms and financial support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2006, which were brought against him at an extradition hearing last month.
He is currently held at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center in Baltimore, having previously been remanded at the CPL Building in Toa Payoh.
Balldev, who denies any involvement with the Tamil Tigers, will face a court hearing next Tuesday.
Until Wednesday night, Balldev’s wife had been unaware of his location in the US, as the Singapore police did not provide that information when they told her about her husband’s extradition last Friday.
The police had previously informed Mrs Balldev that her husband would be extradited between 16 and 18 December, but did not provide the exact date or any other details.
She last spoke to Balldev via video link on 17 December, during one of her regular visits. She had been refused a face-to-face visit that day, as the police claimed that he was being quarantined.
She was due to see him again at 1.05pm the next day. But less than an hour before their scheduled meeting, she received a call from the police informing her that he had already been sent to the US.
According to Mrs Balldev, requests for more information on Balldev’s extradition and exact location went unanswered by the police on Friday, and she was unable to contact them on Saturday as their office was closed.
On Sunday morning, she called the police’s main telephone line, and was directed to several different departments before being referred to the Criminal Investigation Department.
On Monday, she called the CID again, and received vastly differing reports from the various personnel she spoke to. Initially, she was told that her husband had been discharged and allowed to return home.
She was then referred to officer Kelvin Ang, who confirmed that her husband had been sent to the US. He also told her that he was not the officer in charge of Balldev’s case, and referred her to his superior, a woman named Neo Yin Shun.
There was no response when she attempted to call Ms Neo on Tuesday.
The Reform Party however managed to locate Balldev on Wednesday, and passed the information onto Mrs Balldev.
Mrs Balldev told TOC that the allegations against her husband were “not true at all”, and that he “had no dealings” with the Tamil Tigers. She added that he had no ties to Sri Lanka, other than some friends who were of Sri Lankan descent.
She also believes that her husband may have been set up by Haniffa bin Osman, a Singaporean who was convicted in 2007 in a Baltimore court for conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and money laundering.
Osman is currently serving a 37-month prison sentence in the US.
In a statement released after Balldev’s extradition hearing in November, Kenneth Jeyaretnam, the Secretary-General of the Reform Party, said that he was “hopeful” that Balldev would be exonerated.
(The Online Citizen)