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THE HINDU, THE TIMES OF INDIA (India), BBC NEWS (UK), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

NEW DELHI - Ram Singh, a bus driver on trial for the gang-rape and murder of a young woman last December, committed suicide in a high-security cell at New Delhi's Tihar Jail – but his lawyer and family suspect he was murdered.

The 33-year-old man, who was accused of driving the bus on which a 23-year-old student was raped by a group of six men and fatally injured on Dec. 16, 2012, hanged himself with his clothes at New Delhi's Tihar Jail, The Hindu reports – an embarrassment for India's highest security prison, in a case that sparked national outrage.

"Singh was not alone in the cell when he committed suicide. Other inmates were present and a guard was also posted. But nobody came to know about it. Around 5am, he was found hanging," a senior jail official told The Times of India.

Singh's lawyer and family refuse to believe the official account: according to BBC News, they have been telling the media that Singh was "murdered" in prison and have called for an inquiry.

Singh's father, Mangelal Singh said his son had a badly injured hand and could not have hanged himself. The Hindu reports that he told reporters outside Tihar Jail: “He was killed and later hanged in the jail. He told us several times that he was threatened in the jail."

Police have described Singh as the ringleader in the assault that triggered protests across India and demands for tougher rape laws in the country, Reuters reports.

Singh was facing the death penalty if found guilty.

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