Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Police probing Chandresh

... for allegedly using violence against woman


Tourism Minister Chandresh Sharma and businesswoman Sacha Singh outside the Waterfront Complex in Port of Spain last year.

Mark Fraser

Government minister Chandresh Sharma is being investigated by the police, on allegations of violence against a woman. 

Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams confirmed to the Sunday Express that a report lodged at the St Joseph Police Station against Tourism Minister Sharma is currently being investigated.

The Sunday Express asked Williams whether the report relates to domestic violence.

“If you call it domestic violence, yes, but it involves violence against a woman,” the top cop said.

The matter against Sharma was reported on March 12 by Sacha Singh, a Piarco business owner and one-time friend of Sharma.

It allegedly took place around 8 p.m. at the Grand Bazaar, Valsayn.

Asked whether the investigators will be seeking advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the top cop said: “The matter involving Minister Chandresh Sharma is a straight-forward and simple investigation.

There is nothing in law which requires you must consult the DPP to prosecute a minister or someone else.”

He added: “So it’s just a matter of completing the investigation and then making a determination on whether the evidence is crystal clear.”

 Williams said should there be sufficient evidence then the next step will involve “proceeding to prosecute” or if advice is needed, the DPP will be sought.

The incident allegedly involving Sharma was reported on March 21 in the Sunshine newspaper and Singh addressed the incident last Thursday during a live radio interview on 91.9FM.

During the interview, Singh detailed the circumstances which led to her being pushed down at the shopping mall.

Sources say a police officer visited Singh on Friday afternoon at her Piarco office and recorded a statement. She was quizzed for over two hours.

It remains unclear whether officers have interviewed Sharma as yet or two other eyewitnesses who were said to be present during the incident.

In her statement Singh alleges she was “knocked out after being pushed”, during an argument involving her, two other people and the minister.

She was taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre, Mt Hope, by her driver and subsequently reported the matter.

Sources say an entry was made in the station diary.

Contacted for a comment yesterday afternoon, Singh told the Sunday Express she will not be backing down in pursuing the matter.

Several efforts by the Sunday Express to contact Sharma for a comment were unsuccessful. 

Calls to his cellphone and text messages sent were not answered.

Sources close to the minister say he is contemplating taking a few “days off” and spending some time in Miami, USA, starting Tuesday.

Asked if he will be kept apprised on the progress of the investigation, Williams said both his Assistant and Deputy Commissioners of Police of Crime were quite capable of overseeing the investigation.

“I’m saying it’s a straightforward investigation, which a competent  investigator is pursuing and once he completes the investigation, appropriate action will be taken once the evidence so points,” Williams said.

It was only on Tuesday that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar fired Minister of the People Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh following an altercation on board a Caribbean Airlines flight from Tobago to Trinidad.

According to reports, Ramadharsingh last Sunday had threatened flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow.

Laidlow, 25, in her statement to police, said Ramadharsingh’s hand touched her breast when he reached for her ID badge, which was pinned to her blouse.

Following the incident, Ramadharsingh apologised for his behaviour saying he was suffering from “severe fatigue” but denied touching Laidlow or threatening to have her fired.