New Delhi: Ram Singh, the prime accused in the December 16 gang rape of a 23-year-old girl, allegedly committed suicide in a high-security cell in Tihar Jail early on Monday morning.

The 33-year-old Singh hanged himself with the help of his clothes from the grills of his cell in Jail No 3 at around 5 am, jail officials said.

READ MORE: 18 suicide cases in Tihar since 2012

Ram Singh was the main accused among five men and a juvenile put on trial for the gang rape and brutal murder of the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist in the national capital. The assault triggered nationwide protests and an intense debate about rampant crime against women in India.

Singh, who was to be produced before court for daily hearing, was rushed to the jail hospital where he was declared brought dead. His body was being taken to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital for post mortem. Forensic experts have visited the Jail premises to collect samples.

"An inquiry has been ordered into the suicide incident to ascertain how Ram Singh committed suicide in the high security Tihar Jail," said G Sudhakar, DIG (Prisons), Tihar Jail.       

MHA seeks report

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report of the incident from DG (Prisons)

"There is already an inquiry which has been ordered by Tihar Jail on suicide of the main accused. We are enquiring into the matter," RPN Singh, Minister of State for Home Affairs, said.

Singh was not alone in the cell

"Singh was not alone in the cell. Other inmates were present and a guard was also posted. But nobody came to know about it. Around 5 am, he was found hanging," a senior jail official said.

Sources said he was under depression for the past couple of days and Sunday evening, he even did not have food.

Tihar administration under fire

The suicide incident inside the high-security Tihar has raised several questions on the jail authority. Tihar jail is India's highest security prison and officials there are likely to face tough questions about how such an incident could have occurred.

Mamata Sharma, National Women's Commission Chairperson, raised questions about the functioning of Tihar Jail, saying it was "shocking" that the administration could not protect the under trial and demanded an inquiry.

Former Tihar Director General Kiran Bedi said only an inquiry will tell under what special watch was he and what happened to that watch. "How did this man give this watch a slip? I think we need to wait for the inquiry," she said.

Victim’s brother terms suicide ‘unfair’
                              
"He knew he was going to die anyway because we had and still have such a strong case against him. I'm not very thrilled with the news that he killed himself because I wanted him to be hanged ... publicly. Him dying on his own terms seems unfair. But, oh well, one is down. Hopefully the rest will wait for their death sentence," the physiotherapist's 20-year-old brother said.

(JPN/Agencies)

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