Ram Singh, one of several men accused of gang raping and fatally beating a woman on a New Delhi bus, was found dead in his jail cell Monday. Police have said that Singh killed himself, but his parents and his lawyer believe that he was murdered. His attorney, V.K. Anand, said: "There was no reason for him to commit suicide. There is some foul play."
Law enforcement officials say that Singh hung himself with his own clothes. Anand disagrees: "It is not possible he committed suicide. And the theory that he used his own clothes can't be true as there is high security inside the prison," he said.
Singh was being held in Tihar Prison. The jail’s spokesperson, Sunil Gupta, denies that there was negligence. "I am aware media channels are accusing jail authorities for negligence but I deny this allegation. There are guards outside every ward here in Tihar. Ram Singh's ward, too, had sufficient guards. It is not possible to have guards outside every single jail," he said.
Last year there were 18 deaths in the prison. Two of those were via suicide, reports CNN. "Ram Singh did not kill himself. He was murdered," said Singh's father, Mangi Lai. Authorities say that Singh was the driver of the bus where the attack occurred. The woman involved in the incident was 23. New Delhi's Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has ordered an inquiry.
After the woman died from the injuries she suffered during the gang rape, angry protests about the way that India handles sexual attacks erupted. People also protested the overall treatment of women in the country. The gang rape, which happened in December, prompted calls for stricter sexual assault laws.
Singh and four other men were charged with murder, rape and kidnapping. They could be facing the death penalty if they are convicted to the crime. There is one other suspect. He is only 17 and will therefore be tried as a juvenile in another court.