New Delhi, October 25: An assistant sub-inspector of Delhi Police was suspended and two constables sent to district lines after a 45-year-old auto-rickshaw driver died in police custody in south Delhi on Sunday morning, officials said.

The family members of Dharambir, a resident of Najafgarh, said the police assaulted him brutally in custody leading to his death. According to the police, a case of car theft was reported on Thursday at Lodhi Colony police station. The vehicle was stolen from Lodhi Colony and investigation was marked to ASI Vijay.

During examination of the CCTV footage, it was found that the accused persons had come on an auto-rickshaw. The son of the deceased was found to be the registered owner of the auto-rickshaw. His father Dharambir had rented out the auto, a senior police officer said. Red Light On, Gaadi off Campaign: Civil Defence Volunteers to Be Deployed at Traffic Intersections in Delhi.

"Dharmabir was asked to join the investigation. Based on his disclosure, a man named Satish, who was driving the auto at the time of the incident and another person named Ghewar Ram Chowdhary, both residents of Fatehpur Beri, were arrested," Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Atul Kumar Thakur said.

The role of Dharambir was being probed. ASI Vijay was questioning him in a room on the first floor at Lodhi Colony police station, he said. Vijay went to the bathroom, leaving Dharambir in the room. When he returned, he did not find Dharambir there. He found that Dharambir was lying on the floor in the central courtyard of the police station, the officer said.

He was immediately rushed to AIIMS Hospital by the police personnel. During treatment at the Trauma Centre, Dharambir died, following which his family members were informed, police said.

"Further needful action is being taken. Information has been sent to Chief Metropolitan Magistrate for the needful action. Disciplinary action has been initiated and ASI Vijay has been suspended," the officer police said, adding that two constables -- Rajender and Sandeep -- have been sent to district lines. Saurav Kumar (24), the son of deceased, told PTI that police demanded Rs 50,000 from his father.

"On Saturday, two constables -- Sandeep and Rajender -- came to our house and showed a picture of an auto-rickshaw to my father. My father told them that the auto belongs to him, following which they said the SHO had sent them and he needs to come to Lodhi Colony police station.

"My father went to the police station along with them. Later, his phone got switched off and we did not have any communication with him. Sometime later, my father called us and said the police were demanding Rs 50,000. He asked us to bring the money," Saurav said. He said he went to the Kalkaji temple and as there was a huge rush at the temple, his turn came after three hours later.

"When I came back from the temple, police informed us that my father was admitted at a hospital as he got injuries in his legs and head. Later, one of the constables blocked our number and another switched off his phone. PM Narendra Modi's Address to The Nation Highlights: From Urging Citizens to Take All Precautions Against COVID-19 Amid Festive Season to Speaking on Vaccine, Here's What The Prime Minister Said.

"We searched for my father and went to the police station and later reached AIIMS hospital. Police assaulted him brutally in their custody for no reason due to which he died. My father cooperated and helped police arrest the accused persons in theft case," he said.

Dharambir is survived by his wife Sumita, daughter Poonam and two sons Saurav and Sachin. He was the sole earner in the family. Poonam got engaged a couple of days back and her marriage had been fixed for March 25 next year.