Autopsy confirms hanging but was Ram Singh murdered? Key developments so far

The shocking death of main accused in the Delhi gangrape trial, Ram Singh, has unearthed a whole host of questions. Here is all we know so far.

Ayeshea Perera March 12, 2013 14:20:47 IST
Autopsy confirms hanging but was Ram Singh murdered? Key developments so far

The shocking death of Ram Singh, main accused in the Delhi gangrape trial, has unearthed a whole host of questions as well as an almost ghoulish fascination for what he was doing during his final hours.

Was he depressed? Was he murdered? How did he hang himself when his right arm was almost unusable due to a road accident in 2009? How will his death impact the trial underway in the fast track court?

We take a look at all the facts we know so far:

Autopsy confirms hanging, finds no ante-mortem injuries on body

Delhi gangrape accused Ram Singh died due to hanging, police sources said on Tuesday quoting the initial post-mortem report.

The autopsy of Singh, who allegedly committed suicide in Tihar on Monday, was conducted at AIIMS and the body was handed over to his family who said they will take the mortal remains to Karauli in Rajasthan.

Times Now reported that according to the report, there were no ante-mortem injuries on the body.

The post-mortem started at around 11:15 and ended around 12:30 pm, sources said.

They said the initial report suggested that Singh (35) committed suicide. He died due to hanging, the sources said quoting the report.

Ram Singh's body was taken to Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital in New Delhi on Monday. He was found hanging from a noose fastened to an iron grille in the skylight, which according to reports, is eight feet from the floor. He had reportedly prepared a noose, stood on a bucket, fastened the noose and hanged himself.

It is still unclear how he managed to do this without waking up his three cellmates, or arousing the suspicion of the guard. (More on that here)

Singh's body will now be handed over to his body.

Autopsy confirms hanging but was Ram Singh murdered Key developments so far

AFP

What Tihar is saying

The Tihar jail officials are standing by their claim that Singh committed suicide. They claim that he had hanged himself by fashioning a noose from the threads of the rug he slept on, and managed to do so without awakening his cellmates. The Indian Express reported that the jail took two hours to inform the police that Singh had died, but had explained this by saying it took time to call a doctor, confirm death and then inform senior prison officials.

The officials have also submitted a report to the government.

“We have submitted the report providing details about the incident,” a jail official said.

“Inquiry is on, so it would be premature to comment. All facts will be looked into by the Magistrate,” said Vimla Mehra, DG, Tihar jail on Monday.

Singh’s cellmates and the two guards on duty at the time are being questioned. The officials however are refusing to identify the prisoners who were with him that night.

Home Minister says Prima Facie report indicates Ram Singh killed himself

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told media that a preliminary report into Ram Singh's death suggested he had committed suicide but added that a magisterial inquiry would also be conducted. Home Secretary RPN Singh has also asked the jail for a report.

Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit also met with Shinde and ordered a probe into the incident.

Murder allegations

Ram Singh's father and lawyer have dismissed reports that he committed suicide and insist he was murdered. “He has not committed suicide. He has been murdered and then hanged. I am saying this on the basis of the fact that evidence has been erased. He could not move his hand as it was fractured. He couldn’t have committed suicide with just one hand,” his father claimed, according to a PTI report.

Hindustan Times also quoted Ram Singh’s father as saying that his son had been sodomised inside the jail. “I had met him six days back at the court. He had told me that his life is in danger and he also said that he had been sodomised by his fellow inmates”, he had said, according to the report.

He added that his son had already admitted that he had committed a crime and that he himself had said that he should be punished.

VK Singh, Ram Singh's lawyer also dismissed suicide allegations, and demanded a CBI probe into the incident.

Ram Singh's mental state

There are conflicting reports trickling in about Ram Singh's mental state and whether or not he was suffering from depression.

His lawyer says he was 'happy' with the way the trial had been progressing, while his father also said that he had not been depressed. Hindustan Times reported that Singh had even played a few games of badminton with his three cellmates before going to sleep.

Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Barkha Shukla Singh said however, "that the prospect of being hanged was possibly weighing on Singh's mind. Since the hanging of Afzal Guru it seems he was in mental pressure. If an accused is hanged then it will pressurise others. It is necessary to maintain the fear in the minds of the criminal,” she said.

“There exists an unwritten hierarchy among the inmates’ community. Those accused of crimes of sexual nature, are at the bottom of the hierarchy. They are ridiculed and condemned. They are not welcomed by other inmates, which makes then vulnerable to suicide,” said Kiran Bedi, former Inspector General, Tihar prison.

Officials say the 35-year-old along with four other accused were put on ‘suicide watch’ after they stopped talking with other inmates and with each other, but that it had been lifted a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile prison officials anonymously told Firstpost that Ram Singh was never taken to any of the psychiatrists in the prison, so his mental state was not known.

How will his death affect the trial?

The death of Ram Singh could potentially offer a way out to the other accused in the gangrape case, as they can now claim that they acted under the orders of Singh, who was the prime accused in the case, said lawyers quoted by PTI. Lawyers for the other accused have already said that they would apply to have the trial shifted out of Delhi because they now fear for the lives of their clients.

The fast track court hearing the case was informed about the death and issued a statement seeking a verification report from the investigation officer.

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