Gangrape accused Ram Singh found hanging in his Tihar cell
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In a dramatic turn to the December 16 gangrape case which is being heard by a fast track court in south Delhi, main accused Ram Singh was found hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail No. 3 early Monday morning. Jail officials claimed he had hanged himself but his father and lawyer alleged foul play and called it murder. Singh was housed in the cell with three other undertrials not connected to his case.
Union Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who said a preliminary inquiry suggested Singh committed suicide, admitted that the death was a "major security lapse". Asked about allegations that Singh was murdered, Shinde said that is exactly why a magisterial inquiry had been ordered.
Director General (Prisons) Vimla Mehra said: "The inquiry is being conducted and it would be premature to make any statement about details of the incident."
Jail officials claimed that Singh tore a rug to make a noose and hanged himself from a skylight grille in the cell. They said he climbed on a bucket and tied the noose to the grille, positioned eight feet from the floor. A guard spotted him hanging at 5.45 am and alerted jail officials.
A doctor who was called in declared Singh dead.
Jail officials were unable to explain why three other inmates — they are facing trial in cases of murder and kidnapping — who shared the 15x12 feet cell had no inkling till the guard raised the alarm.
Officials claimed that on Sunday night, Singh appeared relaxed and was seen chatting with the other inmates. "At 10 pm, he had his dinner — four rotis and dal. He was seen talking to his cell mates until 2 am," an official said.
Singh's cell mates later told officials that he discussed his own case and what could be his fate. He was due to appear at the fast track court on Monday with four others who are being tried for the gangrape.
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