N. Tharmendran, Royal Malaysian Air Force sergeant is escorted to a court in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010.

A Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) sergeant pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court here to a charge of abetting the theft of two F5 jet engines belonged to the RMAF.

Clad in a white shirt, N. Tharmendran, 42, of Subang RMAF base, merely nodded when asked whether he understood the charge, and asked to be tried.

A supply company director, K. Rajandran Prasad, 38, also claimed trial in the same court to a charge of helping to dispose of the stolen properties.

Judge Aslam Zainuddin allowed both accused a bail of RM150,000 with one surety and fixed Feb 11 for the mention.

Tharmendran is charged with abetting airman Mohamad Shukri Mohamad Yusop in the theft of the two J85-21 engines at the Material Processing Shed MATRA 1 building, Sungai Besi RMAF Base here.

He is facing a jail sentence of up to 10 years and a fine if convicted under Section 380 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 109 of the same Code.

K. Rajandran Prasad, 38

Rajandran is charged with disposing of the two engines at number 49, Jalan TS 6/6 Taman Industri Subang on April 30, 2008.

He can be jail up to seven years and fined if convicted under Section 414 of the Penal Code.

Asked by reporters whether Mohamad Shukri would also be charged, Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran said she had yet to receive any directive to that effect.

On whether there would be more people to be charged over the scandal, she said she only received orders to prosecute the two accused.

Earlier Raja Rozela urged the court to view the matter seriously as the items involved were jet fighter engines and not those of motorcycles.

Lawyer V. Ravichandran, who is representing Tharmendran, and Pritam Singh Deol, representing Rajandran, asked the court to impose a lower bail as all the accounts of the accused had been frozen and that their clients did not have much money.

Raja Rozela objected, however, saying the matter was not a factor in setting the bail amount.

Rajandran’s bail was posted by his elder brother while Tharmendran failed to post his.

Earlier, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said all efforts were being made to recover the two engines which were last traced to Uruguay.

— BERNAMA