Delhi rape suspect found dead in prison
Ram Singh, one of the five suspects on trial in New Delhi for December’s gang rape case, was found dead in his cell in Delhi’s Tihar jail this morning.
Officials at Tihar jail confirmed that Ram Singh had apparently hanged himself from the grill in his cell using his bedding. His body was discovered at around 4.45am.
Singh was one of four other suspects that have been on trial since January in a special fast-track court case in New Delhi for the rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student who was assaulted with her male friend on a private bus, driven by Singh himself, on the night of December 16, 2012.
He was housed in Tihar jail waiting for conviction and if convicted, he would have faced the death penalty.
It is embarrassing and shameful for Indian authorities and for the officials of the prison as Singh was held under high security and was not alone in his cell, but shared the cell with three other inmates.
The police are saying he hanged himself but his lawyers and parents claim he was murdered.
V.K. Anand, Singh’s lawyer, said his client appeared composed and calm when he spoke to him in court two days ago.
Mr Anand said: “Singh did complaint of jail authorities torturing him but nothing that would make him take his own life. We can’t rule out foul play. Nothing is adding up.”
Sunil Gupta, the prison’s legal officer said: “The case is being inquired into by the judicial magistrate. Only then will we know what happened”.
In his statement to the police earlier, Ram Singh had accepted his crime saying that he had repeatedly assaulted the victim and tried to kill the woman and her companion and later burned the victim’s clothes and cleaned the bus to destroy the evidence.
The family of the rape victim, who died two weeks later while suffering from brutal internal injuries, blame the jail authorities for their negligence. The brother of the rape victim said Ram Singh should have been “hanged publicly”.
Singh’s death raises questions about the prosecution’s case against the remaining accused. It is expected that the others accused in this case will now grab the opportunity to blame him as the main conspirator.