NEW DELHI: Ram Singh, the bus driver and the main accused in the fatal gangrape of a student on a bus in the Indian capital last December hanged himself in New Delhi’s Tihar jail on Monday, police said.
Singh was the main accused of five men and a juvenile put on trial for the attack on the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist in the Indian capital. The assault triggered nationwide protests and an intense debate about rampant crime against women in India.
A senior police official said Singh had committed suicide in his cell early on Monday. “It is true, he’s dead,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“He tied all his clothes together and used the ceiling grill and a wooden stool to hang himself,” the prison’s law officer Sunil Gupta told media. A judicial magistrate has begun an investigation into the suicide which will probe any security lapses, Gupta added.
Tihar jail is the India’s highest security prison and officials there are likely to face tough questions about how such an incident could have occurred.
“He knew he was going to die anyway because we had and still have such a strong case against him,” the physiotherapist’s 20-year-old brother said.
“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 trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court last month while the juvenile’s trial began last week. Ram Singh’s brother Mukesh Singh, gym assistant Vinay Sharma, bus cleaner Akshay Kumar Singh and fruit vendor Pawan Kumar are the other men on trial.
The five men have pleaded not guilty to rape and murder.
Police allege the six attacked the woman and her male companion on the bus as the couple returned home after watching a movie on December 16. The woman was repeatedly raped and tortured with a metal bar. The couple was also severely beaten before being thrown onto a road. The woman died of internal injuries in a Singapore hospital two weeks later.