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The key witness in the alleged assault of busi-
nesswoman Sacha Singh by former tourism min-
ister Chandresh Sharma was yesterday interviewed
by the police.
A police source confirmed that Insp Naim Gyan,
the chief investigator in the case, met the witness,
a school teacher, at her St Augustine apartment
where they spoke about the incident.
The witness, 53, was present during the spat
between Sharma and Singh on March 12 in the cark
park of Grand Bazaar, Valsayn. The squabble and
alleged assault is now the subject of a police inves-
Contacted yesterday, the witness said she was
advised by her attorney not to speak about the
"I have no comment to make," she said.
Also contacted yesterday, Singh too said: "I have
On Monday, Sharma resigned from his ministerial
post. His resignation was accepted by Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar after calls from leader of
the Congress of the People Prakash Ramadhar and
Fixing T&T for him to step down or be fired.
Sharma s resignation came one week after former
minister of the people Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh
was fired by Persad-Bissessar, following allegations
of disorderly behaviour on board a Caribbean Airlines
flight from Tobago.
Singh, the managing director of AMS Biotech
Security Concept and AmSure T&T Ltd, met with
officers from the St Joseph Police Station on March
28, where she gave a statement of Sharma s alleged
physical abuse outside the mall.
Sharma had agreed to meet Singh at the mall.
In the back seat of Singh s car was a 12-year-old
girl alleged to have been fathered by Sharma and
the child s mother. It is alleged an argument began
between Sharma and the woman and Singh was
slapped across the face and pushed by Sharma
when she tried to intervene.
Singh fell back, hit her head on her car and
blacked out for several minutes. After regaining
consciousness, Singh said she was told Sharma
helped to revive her.
Singh went home and the following day was
diagnosed as having suffered a mild concussion
and haematoma (swelling of the brain) during the
incident. She then reported the matter to Sgt Ogiste
at the St Joseph Police Station.
Friday, April 4, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Vindra's brother talked with abductors...
for 03rd APRIL, 2014
JENSEN LA VENDE
Rennie Coolman, the wid-
ower of murder victim Vindra
admitted under cross-exami-
nation that he did nothing to
assist his wife during the har-
rowing five-minute period
when her kidnappers snatched
her from her car outside their
Lange Park, Chaguanas, home
and took her away.
Coolman, the campus man-
ager at the University of T&T,
was the sole state witness called
yesterday in the trial, in which
12 men are accused of murdering
the Xtra Foods CEO after she
was kidnapped on December 19,
Coolman told special state
prosecutor Dana Seetahal, SC,
that he was scared when he saw
a masked gunman outside their
home after he heard his wife s
car pull into the driveway.
He said he was at the couple s
Radix Road home when his wife
of just over a year arrived around
8.30 pm. At the time he was
having dinner and the house-
keeper, Rasheedan Yacoob, went
to the door.
He said he heard Yacoob
scream and he rushed to the
locked burglarproofing gate and
saw a masked gunman, who
turned in his direction, so he
ran back to the living room.
There he heard his wife s
screams and six gunshots before
the car sped off.
"I felt very, very scared," he
After the men took his wife,
Coolman recalled, he asked his
stepdaughter, Risha Ali, for a
telephone call and called one of
Ali s friends, who was a police
officer, then his brother-in-law
Ryan Naipaul, before venturing
Outside the house he noticed
blood on the driveway and a set
of dentures that Naipaul-Cool-
man had put in months earlier.
He also saw three bullet holes
in the left rear side of her car.
Coolman said police came to
the house about ten to 15 min-
utes after his wife was snatched,
did preliminary investigations
and installed a voice recorder.
On December 24 the first ran-
som call was made around 9
pm, he said. This was followed
by four other calls, two of which
occurred several weeks after the
During all the telephone con-
versations with the kidnapper
on the other end, Coolman s
brother-in-law pretended to be
him and negotiated with the
A total of $120,000 in ransom
was paid and Naipaul offered to
sell his (Coolman s) car and give
them an additional $70,000,
which the kidnappers refused,
as they "knew my situation," he
In the last conversation with
the kidnappers, Coolman
recalled hearing on the other
end a female voice saying: "I am
Vindra Naipaul-Coolman and I
He added that when Naipaul
tried to have a conversation with
the woman on the other end,
the phone was disconnected,
prompting his brother-in-law
to believe that the voice was
Under cross-examination by
defence attorney Kwesi Bekoe,
Coolman agreed he had failed
to assist his wife.
"I did not run and hide, I
moved away from the front door
from the view of the gun," Cool-
man answered when asked if he
hid while a masked gunman was
taking off with his wife.
Asked if he thought his wife
needed any assistance, Coolman
replied: "You could say that."
Asked if he had any good rea-
son why he did not attempt to
render any assistance to his wife,
Coolman said he had a reason
but was not sure it was a good
Coolman said there was a
switch which controlled the
front gate but he failed to use
it. He added that he was not too
familiar with his neighbours or
the neighbourhood security,
which he did not contact during
or after the ordeal.
Asked why he did not contact
the police at 999 at any time,
Coolman said his first reaction
was to get in contact with the
Anti-Kidnapping Squad (AKS).
The widower said he was not
involved in his wife s business
and recalled benefiting once in
the form of a vacation from it,
when they went to a food sym-
posium in Colombia.
He added that although they
had no secrets between them,
he was not privy to the financial
standing of the business and
disagreed that his wife did a
good thing by keeping him out
of the family-run business.
Coolman also told Bekoe at
no time was he afraid of being
prosecuted in relation to the kid-
napping and subsequent murder
of his wife.
Bekoe, who had told Justice
Malcom Holdip he would take
another 30 minutes with Cool-
man, had his time cut short after
the State objected to his asking
Coolman if he had ever paid
money to anyone pretending to
be a state attorney.
scared to help
The accused: Allan "Scanny"
Martin, twin brothers Shervon and
Devon Peters, siblings Keida and
Jamille Garcia and their older
brother Anthony Dwayne Gloster,
brothers Marlon and Earl
Trimmingham, Ronald Armstrong,
Antonio Charles, Joel Fraser and
Lyndon James. A 13th man,
Raphael Williams, was charged
with the crime but died in prison in
2011 of complications from sickle-
Their lawyers: Ulric Skerritt,
Joseph Pantor, Selwyn
Mohammed, Lennox Sankersingh,
Ian Brooks, Wayne Sturge, Mario
Merritt, Richard Valere, Kwesi
Bekoe, Colin Selvon, Vince Charles,
Christian Chandler, Delicia Helwig
and Alexia Romero.
Prosecution: Senior Counsel
Israel Khan, Gilbert Peterson and
Dana Seetahal, assisted by senior
state prosecutor Joy Balkaran.
WHO'S IN COURT
Cops talk to witness
in Sharma probe
Rennie Coolman leaves the Hall
of Justice in Port-of-Spain
yesterday. PHOTO:MICHEAL BRUCE
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