The mysterious circumstances in which the alleged suicide of Ram Singh, main accused in the Delhi gangrape case, took place beg several questions to be answered. Meanwhile, his family and lawyers have cried foul and say he did not commit suicide but was instead murdered.
TEHELKA’s correspondent G Vishnu, met the parents of Ram Singh a day before his alleged suicide, where they shared their apprehensions about the security of Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh, another accused in the case. They expressed fear that their children were being subjected to torture and sodomy in Tihar jail. “If you are going to hang them, it is better that you hang us too. We have nothing else to live for,” Ram Singh’s mother said, wailing in anguish.
Although jail sources said Singh was under depression for the past couple of days and last evening, the claim has been contested by his lawyers.
Sources told TEHELKA that Jail No 3 (the same jail where Afzal Guru was lodged) and Jail no 4 are notorious for torture and violence committed by inmates on fellow inmates. They also added that it was a difficult situation for cops in Jail No 4 to guard his brother Mukesh, from the other inmates.
The feasibility of the accused, who had a slight deformity in his right hand after an accident, to hang himself from a rod in the ceiling of his cell using his clothes seems obscure. Also, the other three inmates present in the cell said they noticed nothing amiss- a dubious claim. Sources said the ‘suicide’ might have taken place between 3:30 AM and 5:30 AM. During the change of guard at 3:30 am, everything was alright. But at the next change of guard two hours later, Singh was found dead, they said. An official statement of the jail authorities merely said Singh was “found hanging at 5:45 am”.
Singh’s family has reiterated that he was murdered and has demanded a CBI probe into the incident. “He has not committed suicide. He has been murdered and then hanged. I am saying this on the basis of the fact that evidences have been erased. He could not move his hand as it had fractures. I am also demanding that the post mortem be held in front me,” Singh’s father Mange Ram said. “There is some foul play. He was very happy with the way the trial was going on,” advocate V K Anand, who represents Singh and his brother Mukesh, alleged.
“The matter is being enquired into by the Judicial Officer as per Sec 176 of CrPC. The exact cause of death could be known after receipt of inquiry officer report, which also includes post mortem examination, report by forensic experts,” an official statement of the jail authorities said.
Confirming that a magisterial inquiry had been ordered, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde however admitted that there had been a “major security lapse” that led to the incident.
Whether it was suicide or murder, Ram Singh’s death has once again brought the focus back over the issue of poor monitoring of undertrials.