Just a few days of police custody and scraps of information about the public rage their horrendous sexual assault of a woman has evoked has sent shivers down the spine of the accused -- especially Ram Singh's.
Having remained aloof and stony during questioning for two whole days after his arrest, Singh, the main accused, began feeling ‘sorry’ for his demonic act when investigators told him about the widespread, nationwide outcry it has triggered. He finally admitted so to a magistrate on Sunday afternoon.
"While the intent was not to scare him or pressurise him, Singh began cooperating with us after he was told about the public anger," an officer said.
"Who knows whether he really feels remorse or guilt? But he did say so to the judge," another officer said.
Though late, according to sources, the sudden awakening of Singh's conscience helped them in nabbing the most elusive of his partners-in-crime - the seemingly ethereal juvenile."
Singh was the only one who knew the juvenile more than any of the other accused. The others arrested in the case had a very hazy recollection of his description," the officer said.
It was the little bits of information that Singh gave police - seemingly in return for news about the rage his crime was evoking beyond the bars of his lockup - that led the police to the boy sooner than they had expected.
"His description was helpful — but too common. At least 35 persons of a similar description had already been examined by us. But little things, like information about his 'sweet' voice and especially the way he solicited potential fares, proved fruitful," said the officer.
On Saturday, it was Akshay Kumar Singh alias Thakur's turn to feel the chill after he asked the investigators why so many journalists wanted to get his picture.
He, apparently, froze as soon as he was told that the entire country was up in arms against him. "A week later, the same drunken men whose sporadic anger had turned them into beasts now fear for their lives," the officer added.