Mumbai: 'Thrashed with belt' at police station, 26-year-old dies

Updated: 17 September, 2020 08:41 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Family alleges Sohail Sheikh, who suffered from hypertension, collapsed after a cop beat him up; uncle, who was also thrashed, say the officer prevented him from asking kin to bring his medicines

Sohail Sheikh aka Usman, the deceased, died on Wednesday afternoon
Sohail Sheikh aka Usman, the deceased, died on Wednesday afternoon

A family has accused an officer from the RCF police station in Chembur of beating a 26-year-old man in custody, leading to his death. Sohail Sheikh aka Usman was picked up from his uncle's home on Tuesday afternoon and was declared dead the next day, after police allegedly refused to let him take his medications for hypertension.

A constable and an officer in civil clothes visited Sohail's uncle Tayyab Mansoor Sheikh's home on Tuesday and took them both to the police station for questioning. While police claim they were picked up on suspicion that they were illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, Mansoor said they never mentioned it to them.

'Refuse help getting medicines'

"The officer beat us up with a belt inside the police station. After an hour, Sohail started sweating and I knew that he had hypertension and was on medications. I requested the officer to let me call someone in the family so that they can bring his medicines, but they didn't listen," said Mansoor. "When I insisted, the cop said, 'police station me sabko pasina aata hai (everyone starts sweating in the police station)'. After sometime, Sohail felt giddy and collapsed, but still they didn't do anything. He was unconscious for around six-seven hours."

'Cop demanded Rs 2.5 lakh'

Mansoor alleged that the officer brought some ganja and said he would book us for possession if they don't give Rs 2.5 lakh. "He later agreed on Rs 50,000. We were allowed to leave after I gave him the money." Sohail was unconscious even after we reached home around 11.30 pm, he said. "I thought he would be okay after some time but he was suddenly gasping for breath."

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The family rushed him to a private hospital in Chembur which referred him to Sion hospital. "We reached Sion hospital in the morning. Doctors said there were blood clots in his brain, and declared him dead by (Wednesday) afternoon. His body was sent to JJ Hospital for post-mortem," said Qurban Sheikh, Sohail's younger brother.

A senior doctor from Sion hospital said, "We have to wait for the autopsy report for more clarity."

Survived by pregnant wife

Sohail lived at Lallubhai Compound, Mankhurd, and was a driver partner with Ola and Uber. He had recently got married and his wife is two months pregnant. He had been staying with his uncle in Chembur for the past 15 days due to family issues, said Qurban. "He was beaten by the officer so badly that he lost his life," he added.

The family also alleged that cops are not letting them take the footage of Tuesday's detention recorded on a CCTV camera at the entrance of the building of their society. "Two officers came on Wednesday evening and took photographs, and threatened the society against giving the footage to anyone." Mansoor said.

Police deny allegation

RCF police have, however, denied the allegations. "The allegation is not true. When he started feeling uncomfortable, we allowed him to take his medicines. There are CCTV cameras inside the police station. We will also conduct an internal inquiry on the allegations of the family," said Sopan Nighot, senior inspector.

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First Published: 17 September, 2020 06:38 IST

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