The arrest of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) commissioner Bambang Widjojanto on Friday has breached the Criminal Law Procedures Code (KUHAP), raising questions on the motive of the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Unit (Bareskrim) in conducting the arrest.
Police officers armed with rifles took Bambang at 7:30 a.m. on Friday in Depok, West Java, as he was on his way home after dropping off his son at school.
The officers handcuffed Bambang and took him to National Police headquarters to question him about his alleged role in demanding a witness falsify testimony in the West Kotawaringin election dispute case in 2010.
The forced summons surprised the public as, according to Article 122 of the KUHAP, such a move can only be carried out if a suspect fails to show up for a previous summons.
National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti said he had not been informed about Bareskrim’s arresting Bambang although he said it was common for detectives to arrest a suspect without informing the institution’s top leader.
Political expert Nico Harjanto of the Populi Center said that it was strange that newly appointed National Police detective division chief Insp. Gen. Budi Waseso had ordered Bambang’s arrest without Badrodin’s knowledge.
“Although the detective division chief does not usually have to ask permission to arrest someone, the head of the police should be told if they were going to arrest a government official,” he said on Saturday.
The arrest was another move to attack the antigraft body after its bold move to name top cop candidate Comr. Gen. Budi Gunawan as a suspect in a bribery case. A former adjutant of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, who is also the chairwoman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Budi was President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s only pick for the post.
Despite Badrodin’s pledge not to arrest Bambang during a meeting with Jokowi, his detention was announced on Friday night. Bambang was only released a few hours later after fellow KPK commissioners Adnan Pandu Praja and Zulkarnain met with Badrodin.
Nico said that top detective Budi, who is known as Budi Gunawan’s subordinate at the Police Education Institute (Lemdikpol), has taken his career down a dangerous path by persecuting Bambang.
“The new detective division chief should be evaluated because a good one would not have aggravated relations between the KPK and the police force,” he said.
Budi has been detective division chief for less than a week after replacing Comr. Gen. Suhardi Alius, who was moved to the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas).
Detective Budi has denied that the move to prosecute Bambang was to avenge Budi Gunawan’s case.
Political expert Ray Rangkuti said that the legal basis for Bambang’s case was also strange.
In the Kotawaringin election dispute case, the police accused Bambang of violating Article 242 of the Criminal Code by allegedly ordering a witness to present false testimony.
“The police accused Bambang of directing a witness to give a false testimony, but how do you define ‘directing’? Isn’t it Bambang’s job, who was then a lawyer in the dispute, to present witnesses?” he said.
A member of Bambang’s legal team, Todung Mulya Lubis, who led a protest over Bambang’s arrest, said that he had found no evidence to support the allegation in the case’s dossier.
“There is no real proof. I don’t understand how the case is logically sound,” he said.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said that the investigators decided not to detain Bambang Widjojanto because he was deemed willing to be cooperative during the investigation.
“After arresting and questioning him, the investigators decided to release him back to his family and all the considerations were made based on the law. Yes, it was [their decision] but the investigators are professionals who know what they’re doing,” he said on Saturday.
Although Bambang was released, Ronny said that the investigation would continue and because the investigators possessed strong evidence that implicated Bambang, it was possible that the officers would submit the case dossier to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) soon in hopes that it would be declared complete.
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