Indian-Origin Man on Death Row Gets Acquitted in Singapore

Gopu Jaya Raman could prove that he had no knowledge that drugs were placed in his motorcycle.


A Malaysian man of Indian origin who was facing a death row for possession of drugs was acquitted on Feb. 12 by the Court of Appeal in Singapore.

Gopu Jaya Raman, 31, was able to prove that he was unaware that drugs had been kept in the motorcycle that he rode into Singapore on March 24, 2014, according to the judgment, Malaymail Online reported.

Raman, who was unemployed, had previously delivered drugs. However, he continued to say that he had no knowledge of that fact that drugs had been placed in his motorcycle that day. He was entering Singapore to pay a visit to his girlfriend and another friend to celebrate his birthday.

In previous instances, drugs had been packed in green bundles and covered with a scarf. They were then kept over the seat compartment lid and covered by the seat. According to the judgement, Raman might have missed the drugs when he was looking for them because of the bundles’ “size and dark color.”

He was caught with three bundles by officers of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore. These contained around 46g of diamorphine and were hidden in the area surrounded by the fenders of the motorcycle. When he was confronted, he seemed confounded and lost.

On March 23, 2014, Raman met with an accident and was injured on the chest and leg. He had requested his boss, Ganesh, for a loan of RM150 to visit a doctor. Ganesh had refused and asked him to go and meet his friend, identified as Ah Boy, instead.

Ah Boy asked Raman to deliver drugs, which he refused. He then gave the money to Raman to visit the doctor after having a talk with Ganesh.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Judge of Appeal Judith Prakash found no concrete proof linking Raman to the drugs. “There was no doubt in this case that Ganesh and Ah Boy wanted to transport the drugs into Singapore. The only question was whether Gopu was part of this plan,” they said.

However, judge JA Tay Yong Kwang was not satisfied with Raman’s reasons for entering Singapore and even with how he managed to have the motorcycle. Kwang said that in his judgment that Raman had trafficked drugs into Singapore on two previous instances before his arrest on March 24, 2014 and he used the same motorcycle.

“There was ‘absolutely no reason”’ for Ganesh and Ah Boy to resort to trickery to get Raman to bring the drugs into Singapore, especially when Raman still owed Ganesh half of an RM4,000 loan and needed a further loan for medical attention,” said Yong Kwang.

In order to nab the rest of the gang who might come to collect the drugs, the authorities took Raman’s assistance. They called off the operation as no one came, the judgment said.

Raman said that he wrote a text message to Ganesh, as directed by an officer of the Central Narcotics Bureau, when he was arrested, in which he complained that he had not been informed about the drug. This, Raman claimed, showed enough proof of the fact that the officer believed that Raman was unaware about the drugs. He also said that the motorcycle that he was riding was not his.

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