A union parishad chairman in Cox's Bazar's Chakaria upazila and his associates have beaten an elderly woman and her two adult daughters mercilessly for allegedly stealing a cow.
On Friday, associates of Minarul Islam, chairman of Harbang union parishad, beat the three women. They also put rope around their waists and made them walk to the chairman's office in Paharchanda area.
Minarul also beat the trio after they reached his office, said locals.
Later, the chairman handed them over to police when their physical condition worsened, according to locals.
The incident came to light on Saturday night as the footage of the torture went viral on social media.
Mahbubul Haque, a resident of Bindabankhil Lalbridge area of the union, filed a case on Friday night against the 55-year-old woman, her two daughters aged 25 and 20, her 23-year-old son, and another man.
The victims were sent to Cox's Bazar district prison on Saturday after an order of the Chakaria Senior Judicial Magistrate Court.
Anesthetic spray and a knife were recovered from their possession, according to the case statement.
Aminul Islam, inspector of Harbang investigation centre of Chakaria Police Station, said after being informed, police rescued them in critical condition and took them to Chakaria hospital where they received treatment.
Minarul denied the allegation of beating. He said he was not present during the incident.
"I found them in my office after returning from Chattogram and handed them over to police," he said.
A local source said the woman and her daughters came to Harbang to receive a consignment of yaba tablets from a man that they had paid for before. But they were returning to their village by a CNG-run autorickshaw as they could not meet the man.
On their way back, the driver put a cub in his vehicle insisting that he owns it.
Sensing the matter, locals seized the vehicle although the driver managed to flee the scene.