Former Durban SAPS colonel arrested by Ipid investigators for 'intimidation'
Former Durban-based police officer Col Rajen Aiyer, who was fired from the SAPS in 2018 after a complaint of intimidation, has been arrested and charged criminally related to the same allegations.
Aiyer appeared in the Krugersdorp magistrate's court on Wednesday. He was granted bail of R2,000 on condition he surrender his passport and have no contact with the complainant.
His dismissal followed an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), acting on a complaint by a former Durban woman, Louise Nell, that he had victimised her, unlawfully arrested her and kept her in custody for two days.
This was at a time when she was in an acrimonious dispute with her ex-husband, businessman Andrei Potgieter.
Nell, in her complaint to Ipid, accused Aiyer of defeating the ends of justice, perjury, intimidation and extortion.
She said after an “overly litigious” divorce from Potgieter, he had laid several charges against her for malicious damage to property but prosecutors had declined to prosecute.
In 2012, after Potgieter failed to pay maintenance, for their then minor children, she opened a criminal case against him.
She believed this “was the impetus” behind what transpired “at the hands of Aiyer”, who she alleged threatened her with arrest, claiming he was the investigating officer in the malicious damage to property matters, when he was not.
This occurred in the Krugersdorp court building when she was attending Potgieter’s trial.
Nell alleged in her complaint to Ipid that Aiyer told her to withdraw charges she had opened against Potgieter.
Potgieter was convicted on these charges in January 2018. The next day he applied for a domestic violence protection order against her in the Pinetown magistrate's court.
Aiyer, who allegedly applied for a warrant of arrest claiming he could not trace her, had her arrested. She was detained overnight at Hillcrest police station. When she appeared in court, he opposed the granting of bail and then suggested it be set at R150,000.
This demonstrates the gross abuse of a citizen at the hands of a then member of the police, which is ultimately a serious abuse of taxpayers' resources by those mandated to protect the vulnerableAttorney Wesley Rogers
She was eventually released on R2,000 bail.
Sources told TimesLIVE that Aiyer — once said to be a key witness in the abandoned and discredited “Cato Manor” case — was arrested by Ipid investigators in Durban on Monday.
He will appear in court again on July 29.
Nell’s attorney Wesley Rogers told TimesLIVE: “My client is pleased that Ipid has thoroughly and diligently investigated the criminal case she lodged against former Col Aiyer, and the DPP was satisfied on the basis of that evidence collected, that the crimes alleged have indeed been committed, which warrants this prosecution.
“This is a matter of importance as it demonstrates the gross abuse of a citizen at the hands of a then member of the police, which is ultimately a serious abuse of taxpayers' resources by those mandated to protect the vulnerable.”
He said Nell had waited “many years for justice”.
Potgieter was sentenced to an effective four-and-a-half years in prison for not paying maintenance of R1.2m. He served two months and was released on bail, pending an appeal.
In 2021, two judges in Gauteng confirmed the conviction and sentence and directed he hand himself over to prison authorities immediately.
He is serving his sentence at Pietermaritzburg New Prison.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.