BUKIT MERTAJAM: A local politician today demanded answers from the police over why the family of a man who was in their custody was not informed of his death until nearly two months later.
Seberang Perai city councillor P David Marshel said the late Kumar Selvadurai, 35, was arrested by police along with two others in Butterworth on Dec 10 over a theft case.
He said upon hearing about the arrest, Kumar’s brother had gone to the Kepala Batas police station where he was being held.
David said the brother saw Kumar being surrounded by policemen at the lock-up and was subsequently told to leave.
The brother was told to come to court the following day as Kumar was to be charged. However, Kumar did not show up.
The family then learned that two others arrested together with Kumar had been released by the police. When the family came to look for Kumar, police claimed that they did not know his whereabouts.
David said a policeman later advised Kumar’s family to search for him at the Jawi prison, but he was not there either.
Yesterday, the family decided to lodge a missing person’s report at the Butterworth police station, only to be told by police that Kumar had “already died on Dec 13”.
David said police then told the family that Kumar was brought to the Kepala Batas Hospital for suspected seizure a day after his arrest and was subsequently referred to the Seberang Perai Hospital, where he was reported to have died of a heart attack.
He said it was also learnt that when police brought Kumar to the hospital, they had already signed for his release, giving him police bail.
David said the family was told that since no one had come to claim Kumar’s body, it was handed over to an unnamed NGO to be “processed”.
“There are a few questions here. Why did the police release him while he was being warded?
“And where is Kumar’s body now? His mother has been pleading with the police to return his body to give Kumar his final rites.
“Why did the police not have the courtesy to inform his family that Kumar was taken ill and was warded? Why take 50 days before informing the family what had happened?
“Did he really get a seizure or was there something else?”
Kumar’s brother, Thines, 27, lodged a report at the Bukit Mertajam police station today, asking for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Kumar’s death.
FMT has reached out to the Seberang Perai North and Central police departments for comment.