Shah Alam Sagar, also identified as Shah Alam Sarkar, was found dead behind the Uttara Paschim Police Station in the capital, Dhaka. Police said Alam believed he was about to be arrested and that he fell off the roof from where he was attempting to escape by climbing down a drainpipe, reports said.
Sagar's wife, Shoma Akhter, told the online news website BDnews24 that her husband was tortured and killed and that police had staged the death as an accident, news accounts reported. Akhter said her husband's body showed marks of torture and that his hands bore marks from handcuffs, the reports said. The Dhaka Tribune cited two individuals--a witness as well as a local journalist--who also cast doubts on the police version of the case. "Even his hands and legs looked like they had been broken," the journalist told the paper.
Prior to his death, Sagar, a reporter for the weekly Bangla-language crime magazine Oporadh Domon, had published a story alleging financial wrongdoing by a local college principal, according to news reports. The report included allegations from a local carpenter that the college principal had owed him vast sums of money, news accounts said. A local journalist who asked not to be identified for fear of police retaliation told CPJ that the report also accused the principal of embezzling large sums of money from local residents.
After the article was published, the principal filed a complaint against Sagar, news reports said citing Akhter. Police subsequently summoned the journalist, as well as the principal and the carpenter, to the police station to settle the dispute, the reports said.
Sagar's brother, Kamal Mollah, told the press he believed police were involved in his brother's death and that he did not believe their claim that Sagar had fallen off the roof. He said he believed this was a "pre-planned killing by the police."
Assistant Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (North) Saifullah Mohammed told local journalists that Sagar had fallen from the roof and denied that police had pushed him, according to reports.
Mollah said when the family tried to file a case at the police station about Sagar's death, their request was denied and they were forced to leave. Police denied the allegation. Police later arrested four individuals, including the college principal and the carpenter, citing them as prime suspects in the case, according to The Dhaka Tribune.
The journalist is survived by his wife and daughter.