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India: Suspense, speculation after Delhi rape accused hangs himself


New Delhi, (Agencies):

The man accused in the fatal gangrape of a student on a bus in New Delhi last December hanged himself in Tihar jail on Monday, prompting speculation on how he managed to kill himself when he supposed to be under guard.

Ram Singh, 33, was accused of driving the bus on which the 23-year-old student was raped and fatally assaulted by a group of six men on December 16. There is speculation that he used thread from his sleeping mat to make a noose. Another theory is that he used his clothing.

"He tied all his clothes together and used the ceiling grille and a wooden stool to hang himself," AFP quoted prison's law officer Sunil Gupta told AFP by phone.

There were three other prisoners in Singh's cell but they have told officials that they were asleep when Singh committed suicide at around 5am this morning. Singh was on "discreet watch", a term used for inmates who are be montitored for threats to their life.

A prison official told PTI that Singh had mood swings and showed suicidal tendencies but Singh's lawyer denied this.

"He (Singh) wasn't depressed. It was shocking and also unexplainable (the death). I do not think there was any reason for him to commit suicide," said lawyer VK Anand.

"I am shocked to hear this news. There were security concerns, so we wanted the case to be transferred out of Delhi, but Ram Singh was not under stress," said Anand.

Singh, along with four other men on trial with him on rape, murder and abduction charges, had been under a suicide watch, another jail official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. He said the five were being held in separate cells in separate buildings at the jail.

If convicted, the men could face the death penalty. The sixth accused is being tried and jailed separately because he is a juvenile.

(With inputs from AFP, PTI and HT Correspondent)

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