KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — The Selangor police said today they have ruled out any foul play in the case of 35-year-old V. Mugilarasu, who died in Sungai Buloh Prison on July 2 while awaiting a court hearing next month.
The state’s police chief Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin told Malay Mail that the post-mortem findings revealed that the deceased suffered from a heart attack that led to his subsequent death while in custody.
“We have investigated events leading to his death and from the post-mortem results, no foul play was detected. He suffered a heart attack,” Noor Azam told Malay Mail in a brief message.
Last week, Mugilarasu's family lawyer A.Sheelan claimed that the body of the deceased had signs of injuries and the family suspected foul play.
However, the pathologist said those signs could have been from post-mortem examinations, where his skin was peeled to see if there had been any bruising. The examinations could not find any.
Sheelan and another lawyer John Dass were representing the deceased who was remanded over a drug case since March 2019, with his case at the High Court in Shah Alam originally scheduled to proceed on August 12.
The family had also questioned the time discrepancy between his death and the time they were informed about it.
Sungai Buloh district police chief Supt Shafa’aton Abu Bakar later told Malay Mail that the family’s stand may have been due to regulations introduced since the Covid-19 pandemic that barred them from viewing Mugilarasu’s body.
She explained that all deaths in custody required Covid-19 testing as a matter of course under orders from the Health Ministry before other procedures including a post-mortem examination.
“His family might not have been happy because they were not allowed to see his body. There is nothing being concealed, maybe there was a misunderstanding; but I think the hospital has explained the situation to them, but maybe they don't want to accept it,” she said.
Meanwhile, when Malay Mail contacted lawyer John Dass for further comments after the police's latest outcome, he said the family has yet to make a decision on their next course of action.
“The funeral just took place last Sunday. We are giving them time to grief before deciding on the next course of action.”
Mugilarasu is said to have collapsed in his prison cell after complaining of chest pains at around 6pm.
The machine operator died while being taken to the Sungai Buloh Hospital.
In December, human rights watchdog Suaram said there were six deaths in police custody between January and October 2019.
This was lower than Suaram’s compilation in previous years of 2018 (eight deaths in police custody), 2017 (10), 2016 (15), and 2015 (12).