One of the suspects in a highly-publicized rape case in Delhi has been found dead in prison. Official reports state that he committed suicide, but the man's family insists that he was murdered.
Ram Singh drove the bus as six men took turns raping and beating a 23-year-old woman in December. He was arrested and was facing the death penalty in a high-profile case that united the international community in outrage. Indian officials were forced to act quickly to quell uprisings among the people.
Singh was found dead on Monday, having hung himself with rope made from his clothes, a spokesman for Tihar Jail said in an interview. Singh allegedly threw the rope over a metal bar in the prison and killed himself, Sunil Gupta explained. However, Singh shared a jail cell with inmates, and the public is wondering how he could have died without anyone noticing.
Singh's family and lawyer have alleged that he was murdered.
"I suspect there is foul play. There were no circumstances for committing suicide. His mental state was stable; the trial was going well; he was meeting with his family. I can't understand why he would commit suicide," Singh's lawyer, V.K. Anand, told the press. "This is a high-profile prisoner, and he was under special protection. He was never left alone."
Mangelal Singh, Ram's father, has alleged that his son was raped, beaten, and threatened by other inmates and guards while in prison. There is no proof to substantiate his claims other than the reputation of Indian prisons- "overcrowding, poor management, and brutal treatment of inmates" is common, the Associated Press reported.
"The inquiry is being conducted and it would be premature to make any statement about the details of the incident," Vimla Mehra, director general of the jail, told AP.
"In a high-security jail, an occurrence of this kind is highly condemnable. It raises the serious issue of security of the accused persons in the jail," Vivek Sharma, a lawyer for another defendant in the case, said.
Watch media coverage of Singh's death here: