Shaikul Khan, 30, died in the custody of the Faridabad Police on 23 July. An FIR has been registered against two police officers on charges of murder.
Shaikul, a resident of Alwar's Tikri village, was being held in Faridabad Police custody since 20 July in connection with a cybercrime case.
Why Was Shaikul Arrested?
According to the Faridabad Police, Shaikul and his 'accomplices' were involved in a cyber fraud involving roughly Rs 1.90 lakh against Faridabad resident and cardiologist Subrat Akhoury and his wife Shilpa, under the pretence of selling a plot.
Subrat filed an FIR at the Cyber Crime NIT police station on 13 July, following which an investigation was initiated.
On 20 July, the police arrested Shaikul and four others: Narendra, Dharmendra, Sabir, and Ali Mohammad.
Family Claim Shaikul Was Innocent
Shaikul's brother claimed that his brother was innocent.
"He lived in a flat and was studying for competitive exams such as police and patwari. Why would someone who is preparing for competitive exams commit a cyber crime?" Sabir told The Quint.
Shaikul had just gotten married three months ago.
'Health Deteriorated, Died in Hospital': Police
According to the police, Shaikul was taken to a hospital as he was "feeling weak" and having "difficulty breathing" and he died on the morning of 23 July.
On 21 July, the police said, that Shaikul complained of feeling weak and having difficulty breathing for the first time. "He was immediately taken to BK Hospital, where doctors prescribed necessary medications and advised against admission, stating that the medication would be sufficient for his recovery," said the police.
A day later on 22 July, Shaikul again complained of weakness, and he was taken back to the same hospital for treatment. After receiving treatment, he was sent back to the police station.
On 23 July, again Shaikul complained of weakness and was taken to the hospital, where he died.
According to police, the post-mortem was conducted on Monday, 24 July, in the presence of Judicial Magistrate Aakriti Verma, and it was recorded.
'Killed by Police': Family, Friend Allege Custodial Violence
Shaikul's relatives and friends dispute the police version of his death.
Shaikul died of custodial violence, according to his childhood friend, Taufeek Khan who alleged that his body had injury marks. "He was badly beaten. He was beaten with belts, and batons, and even electrocuted. There are marks on his stomach, back, joints, and face. He was bleeding from the nose even after his death when I saw his body," he told The Quint.
Taufeek claimed that sub-inspector Rajesh Kumar and others in his team were responsible for the death and that this is not Rajesh's first custodial death case. "This is his fifth death in custody. This person has not been thoroughly investigated. "How come he's still a cop?" Taufeek asked.
Cops Booked for Murder in Shaikul's Death
"The deceased's family has alleged that the police officers had beaten Shaikul, leading to his death," said Sube Singh, Faridabad police spokesperson.
Based on a complaint by the Shaikul's brother, Sabir Khan, the police have registered an FIR under section 302 (Punishment for murder) against two officers stationed at the Cybercrime Police Station in Sector 19, Sub-Inspector Rajesh Kumar and Inspector Basant Kumar.
"On 9 July, my brother Shaikul was picked up from Chidwai in Alwar on the Mumbai Expressway and taken to Faridabad… On the way, he was beaten up by SI Rajesh Kumar and his team. On 20 July, I received a call from the Cyber Cell saying Shaikul had been picked up after he was mistaken for another man. They said he would be released if we could get the other man. I went to the Cyber Cell police station with a friend and spoke to police, who said we had to give them Rs 1.65 lakh for Shaikul to be released… so we (withdrew money)… Later, Rajesh sub-inspector said Shaikul will be released after he recovers as he got into a fight and sustained injuries," Sabir alleged in the complaint.
On 23 July, Sabir stated that at 11 AM, his brother Mubarik received a call from the Cyber Cell stating that Shaikul was not feeling well. They went to the police station and discovered he was in the hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, they were informed that Shaikul had died.
"Rajesh and related culprits of Police Station Cyber Cell, Sector 19, Faridabad, kidnapped my brother Shaikul and assaulted him to extract illegal money, due to which my brother died," he alleged in the complaint.
Nuh Congress legislator Aftab Ahmad also reached the BK Hospital to meet the victim's family and demanded a fair investigation into the case.
In 2019, the National Campaign Against Torture (NCAT), an NGO dedicated to ending torture, documented 125 police custodial killings, with 60 percent of the victims belonging to poor and marginalised communities. This included 13 from the Dalit community and 15 Muslims.
"The police personnel involved in the incident have been summoned for questioning to conduct an unbiased investigation. Further action in the case will be based on the postmortem report and the judicial report," said the police.
(With inputs from Himanshi Dahiya)