KAJANG: Twenty-nine men, including a Datuk believed to be with Gang 360 Devan, were charged at the Sessions Court here with taking part in organised crime, amid tight security.
Outside the courthouse, several policemen, wearing balaclavas and holding machine guns, stood guard.
Inside the court, more than a dozen policemen were on duty, assisted by several plainclothes personnel.
The accused were aged between 25 and 74.
The large number of accused spilled out of the dock, with all required to stand throughout the hearing.
The charges were read out in Tamil. The accused nodded that they understood the charges. No plea was recorded.
The offences are alleged to have occurred between Jan 1 and Feb 11 this year at MV Empayer Sdn Bhd, Jalan Perniagaan Masria 1, Pusat Perniagaan Masria, Batu 9, Cheras.
The offence under Section 130V(1) of the Penal Code for offences related to organised crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The public gallery was full of family members hoping to meet the accused who have been held in custody for about a month after being arrested under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) last month.
The police prevented media photographers and videographers from entering the courthouse, though reporters were allowed to attend the hearing.
The accused are Datuk M. Kalai Arasu, 45; M. Mohan, 34; P. Subramaniam, 53; S. Ravindran, 37; and R.P. Ponniah, 48.
The others are E. Shanmuha-nathan, 45; A. Karpanah, 57; J.J. Jignasevaran, 42; R. Prem Raj, 36; V. Arivalagan, 74; R. Suresh Kumar, 39; and M. Thananbalan, 41.
Also in the dock are M. Kalimuthu, 28; M. Saravanan, 37; R. Sundran, 61; A.K.R. Erethai Pragash, 49; T. Ravendaran, 30; and M. Danes, 25.
The rest are S. Siveneswaran, 25; V.A.R. Vigny Alfred Raj, 29; R. Subramaniam, 37; R. Kannan, 33; M. Jayakumar, 36; P. Karthik, 31; I. Ravindran, 30; S. Krishna, 33; Mohamad Sarif Abd Karim, 31; and R. Yogendran, 30.
Judge Noridah Adam later went to Hospital Shah Alam to hear a similar charge against S. Raman, 61, who was hospitalised due to health complications.
Kalai Arasu is the former Hulu Langat MIC division Youth chief.
A total of 25 people from the group were represented by a team of eight lawyers.
Lawyer Havinderjit Singh claimed that several of his clients were beaten while in custody.
He said a police report was filed but alleged that no action was taken.
Lawyer A. Kailashii Vasudevan objected to how all the accused could face the same charge as they were arrested at different times and in different states.
Judge Noridah replied that such matters could be addressed at the High Court.
She fixed April 18 for next mention.
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