Bail for Munnar-demolition hero who ran over a scribe triggers foul-play cry
There are allegations that Kerala IAS officer Sriram Venkataraman is being shielded by cops and others despite mowing down over a Kerala journalist with his car in a drunken state.Updated: Aug 06, 2019, 20:16 IST
Kerala IAS officer Sriram Venkataraman who was arrested in an alleged drunk driving case that resulted in the death of a young journalist K M Basheer was granted bail on Tuesday by the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Thiruvananthapuram on the basis of his blood test report found negative for alcohol.
Dead journalist KM Basheer’s relatives and journalists cried foul saying the IAS officer’s blood was taken eight hours after the mishap and there were many attempts to bail him out by the police and bureaucrats.
The court rejected prosecution’s plea to reject Sriram’s bail plea citing the negative blood report. It also dismissed accounts of witnesses as ground for rejection of bail. The prosecution said it will file an appeal in the Kerala High Court against the CJM court decision.
According to the police the IAS officer was under the influence of liquor and driving carelessly when his car rammed into the bike of the 35-year old bureau chief of Malayalam daily Siraj, K M Basheer in the early hours of Saturday, August 3. Sriram was travelling with a woman friend who he claimed was behind the wheels at the time of the accident. But the woman in a statement before a magistrate said Sriram was driving the vehicle when it hit the journalist.
Later the 33-year-old officer, who was appointed as the survey director by the state government last week, was arrested under Section 279 (rash driving on a public way) and 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
But the victim’s relatives and journalists said there were many attempts to weaken the case and his blood was taken after eight hours when they threatened a sit-in before the police commissioner’s office. “Police helped the accused in many ways. His blood samples and finger prints were not taken immediately. We will not sit idle. We will hit the street till the deceased gets justice,” said Kerala Union of Working Journalists’ general secretary C Narayanan. Following loud protests by journalists, the government had constituted a special investigation team to probe the case.
Venkataraman, who was the second topper in 2013 civil service examination, became popular in the state following his crusade against land encroachers in hill destination Munnar two years back when posted as the Devikulam sub-collector. But the bureaucrat’s image took a severe beating after the mishap.