Jyotiba Babunath Maharaj (38), who was sentenced to death five days ago for raping and murdering a seven-year-old girl, committed suicide by hanging inside the high security Gulbarga Central Prison on the outskirts of Gulbarga city on Saturday.

According to the police and prison officials, Maharaj, who was let out of his cell during the lunch hour, went to the bathroom and used a towel to hang himself. Fellow inmates, who saw him hanging, raised the alarm.

Police and the prison officials said the convict, who was unconscious, was immediately shifted to the Government General Hospital. However, the doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. It was not clearly known whether the convict was kept in an isolated cell.

It was also not known how a death-row convict was allowed to mix with other convicts during lunch hour. Usually death row convicts are provided specially prepared food inside their isolated cells.

Maharaj was sentenced to death by the District and Sessions Judge M.A. Shakuntala for raping and murdering a girl at a village in Bhalki taluk of Bidar district on November 17, 2012.

A case has been registered in the Farhatabad police station.

More In: Karnataka | National