Saturday, 10 December, 2022

Death of Ex-govt Officer Ashiq

Autopsy fails to ascertain cause, IO terms it natural

Questions over family’s role as the body left to decompose for seven days

Autopsy fails to ascertain cause, IO terms it natural

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Although the autopsy has failed to ascertain the reason behind the death of a retired government officer, the investigation officer of a case filed over the demise has termed it natural, raising questions about the credibility of investigation.

After the body of former food officer Ashiq Elahi was recovered from his residence at Malibagh in the capital on June 9, police had suspected something fishy as the corpse decomposed for seven days with no family member making any effort to contact him during the period.

An unnatural death case was filed with Hatirjheel Police Station in this connection and Sub-inspector (SI) Omar Faruque had been assigned with the job to find out the truth.

 It was stated in the report of the post-mortem examination carried out on the body that the manner of death could not be ascertained.

When contacted, a forensic pathologist said in such a case, an intelligent and strong police investigation can uncover the reason behind the death.

But IO Omar Faruque submitted the final report before a Dhaka court a few days ago terming the death a natural one.

In the final report, he mentioned that Ashiq Elahi, 79, died of old-age complications.

Contacted, Omar Faruq, who has already been transferred to another police station, told the Daily Sun that he first suspected that the elderly man was killed through food poisoning or suffocation or any other way.

But as the medical report did not back the suspicion and it failed to determine the cause of the death, he placed the final report terming the death as a natural one, he said.

The police officer said the elderly man had long been suffering from various diseases.

About the role of his family members, the IO said it was questionable, but nothing could be done as the post-mortem report did not clear the reason behind the death.

Contacted, Dr Maksudur Rahman, associate professor at the forensic department of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), told the Daily Sun that when a post-mortem report could not ascertain the reason of a death, it did not occur naturally. “In such a case, the death might have been caused for any suspicious reason. Police can’t place the final report stating it as a natural death or that the death was caused due to old-age complications,” he said.

Dr Sohel Mahmud, who was former chief of the DMCH forensic department, said, “Sometimes post-mortem can’t determine the exact reason of death when samples from the body are collected late.”

When asked, HM Azimul Haque, deputy commissioner (Tejgaon Crime Division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told the Daily Sun that though the medical report did not mention the death as a natural one, the IO could do so considering the overall situation and his probe findings.

Ashiq Elahi along with his wife Nazmul Laila and mentally challenged son Imtiaz Elahi lived in a flat on the 8th floor of Baganbari Tower at Baganbari of Malibagh while his daughter Nishrat Sultana on a flat on the 5th floor of the building.

The body of the elderly man remained at his flat for about seven days after his death.

The mentally challenged son, who can use android mobile phone and order cooked food online, could not sense that his father was lying dead at their residence and his body was decomposing, according to a policeman.

The deceased’s wife, who was staying at the house of her another daughter elsewhere at that time, did not contact Ashiq Elahi for these seven days while daughter Nishrat Sultana neither came to see her father nor contacted him on the phone during the period.

When bad smell was coming out of the flat, neighbours informed police of the matter. Later, police recovered the body.

After the recovery of the body, family members demanded that police handed it over to them without any autopsy, raising questions about their role.

A few days into the death, the wife, son and daughter of Ashiq Elahi moved elsewhere. 

Security guards of the residential building -- Tofazzal, Jamal and Omar Faruk -- said the deceased had wealth worth several crore of taka at Mirpur and his native village in Parshuram upazila of Feni.

They said the victim has three daughters and a son. Nishrat Sultana’s husband lives abroad while the husbands of two other daughters used to visit their father-in-laws.

A relative of the deceased told the Daily Sun that he (Ashiq) sold a piece of land a few weeks before his death. “The death within a few weeks of selling the land is shrouded in mystery,” he said.