Tommy Suharto turns up at police HQ

HE DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN BOMBINGS

A-G says police yet to find any evidence linking him.

The youngest son of former president Suharto yesterday denied having any role in the deadly bombings in the capital and said he was “very disappointed” with President Abdurrahman Wahid for ordering his arrest.

As speculation mounted over his involvement, Mr Hutomo Mandala Putra – better known here as Tommy Suharto and the most notorious of Mr Suharto’s six children – turned up voluntarily at the police headquarters at 10 am for questioning. “I have come on my own initiative rather than being looked for,” he told reporters.

More than two hours later, a beaming Mr Hutomo, accompanied by three bodyguards but no lawyer, emerged from police questioning somewhat unscathed by the whole affair.

He did not respond to questions from journalists waiting outside the station except to say that he was disappointed at the allegations being levelled against him.

A close friend of the former first family revealed that Mr Hutomo was “furious” after Mr Abdurrahman ordered his arrest on Friday.

“He preferred to turn himself up for questioning rather than face another embarrassment by having police track him down,” the friend said. “The President has already passed the guilty verdict. But Tommy says he is innocent.”

Jakarta’s chief of detectives Harry Montolalu, who questioned Mr Hutomo, said: “He denies any involvement in the bombings.”

Mr Hutomo also rejected allegations that he sponsored pro-Suharto groups to clash with students after the former leader failed to turn up for his corruption trial.

Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman said the national police – which had been caught off-guard by Mr Abdurrahman’s off-the-cuff remarks on Friday about Mr Hutomo – had yet to find any evidence linking him to the explosions, particularly the one last Wednesday at the Jakarta Stock Exchange which killed 15 people.

The police had not even launched a formal investigation.

“They have yet to find a speck of evidence against him, which makes it difficult to arrest him,” Mr Marzuki told The Sunday Times.

It was still not clear what Mr Abdurrahman’s motives were in naming Mr Hutomo publicly, given that the government has yet to amass hard evidence against him, and the speculation about more terrorist attacks in the future is only a view expressed by the President’s informal intelligence network.

Mr Marzuki had told The Sunday Times, in an interview on Friday, that the President was trying to force the police to prove or refute mounting speculation here that the Suharto clan is financing a terror campaign, aided by military personnel. Those close to Mr Abdurrahman concede that the President might have made those statements to stave off public pressure over the Suharto saga.

As one source put it: “He might have decided to go for a softer target popular with Indonesians. It is politically expedient for now.

“But he has expressed privately, on several occasions, that his real enemies are elements in the army which he can’t seem to control or is reluctant to act against for fear of greater bloody reprisals.”

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