Sumon Sheikh, a 25-year-old deliveryman of a water purifying company's distribution office, was forcibly taken to police custody on Friday night for his alleged involvement in a theft case.
He was beaten even on the way to the police station and hours after he was detained from his Rampura home, Sumon died in police custody.
Jannat Akter, wife of deceased Sumon, came to the morgue with their eight years old son, who had little clue what had happened to his father.
"My husband did not do anything wrong, he did not commit any theft. They [police] claimed Tk5 lakh bribes to free him. We could not provide the money and he had to die under police torture," Jannat cried out loud.
Sujon Sheikh, friend of Sumon, told The Business Standard, "We went to the police station on Saturday morning around 9-10am. Even then the Hatirjheel police did not inform us about Sumon's death, rather they asked us to hire a lawyer and advised us to go to the court see him."
After they went to the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court they found out around 3pm that Sumon Sheikh died at 3:32am Saturday.
"From the very beginning they were hiding everything. They did not even allow us to see his dead body at the police station," he added.
"If they did not beat him mercilessly then why did they not allow us to see his dead body before the autopsy?," he asked and said the police were acting strange.
"We cannot call it as suicide, how can a healthy man commit suicide just within few hours of his detention," his wife Jannat Akter screamed in front of the Mortuary of the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital.
"We even tried to file a case against the police over custodial death, but the Hatirjheel police station did not take the case. When we went to the court, the advocates also passed the case as the police are at fault," she told TBS.
"That is not all. Police did not even hand over the dead body in time. A sub-inspector told us that they will hand over the body if we take it to the village home in Nawabganj, not if we take it to our current residence in Rampura. Police made it clear they do not want any protest over the death," she said wailing.
On Saturday afternoon, Sumon's family members and relatives took to the street in front of the police station demanding "justice". Vehicular movement was disrupted for a few hours due the protest.
"My husband was beaten to death. I want justice. We want punishment for the policemen involved in this incident," said Sumon's wife Jannat.
However, police claimed Sumon committed suicide. But his family alleged that he was tortured after the arrest and beaten to death at the police station.
HM Azimul Haque, deputy commissioner (DC) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP, Tejgaon Division) said they arrested Sumon on Friday afternoon in a theft case and recovered Tk3.13 lakh from his rented house in Dhaka's Rampura on Friday night.
Sumon used to work as a labourer at distributor company Masud & Brothers.
Moslem Uddin Masum, distribution manager of the company filed a case on 15 August, alleging Tk53 lakh had been stolen.
When asked, he said they had filed the case but knew nothing about the police torture.
"We filed the case to recover our stolen money. We did not know who was involved," he added.
The DC said Sumon was arrested upon the information they got from three suspects and closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage of the office.
"After the raid at his house, Sumon was kept in the lock-up of the police station as he was supposed to be produced in the court on Saturday morning," said the DC.
"But Sumon on Friday night committed suicide by hanging himself from the ventilator with his trouser," he said referring to the footage of the police station.
He said the footage was also shown to Sumon's wife and relatives.
However, the family members claimed that they did not see any footages what portrays that Sumon was committing suicide.
"They showed us partial footage and they did not show us the footage later when we wanted to watch," said Mosharrof Hossain, brother-in-law of Sumon.
Meanwhile, duty-officer Hemayet Hossain and constable Md Zakaria of Hatirjheel police station have been suspended for negligence in duty.
A three-member probe body comprising two additional deputy commissioners and an assistant commissioner of police, has also been formed to look into the matter.
Jyotirmoy Barua, a human rights lawyer, told TBS that police investigating police's negligence crime will not yield anything.
"In most custodial death cases law enforcement agencies get impunity and probe bodies find nothing. Therefore, an independent and even judicial probe panel should be formed in such cases," he added.