Sriram Venkitaraman files discharge petition in the drunk-and-drive accident case

Counsel for the accused submits that there was no material evidence to frame the charges against the accused under Sections 184, 185 and 188 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

September 19, 2022 08:55 pm | Updated 08:55 pm IST - KOCHI

Sriram Venkitaraman, IAS officer and the first accused in the alleged drunk-and-drive accident that caused the death of journalist K.M. Basheer, filed a discharge petition before a trial court on Monday.

The counsel for the accused submitted that there was no material evidence to frame the charges against the accused under Sections 184, 185 and 188 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

The offences alleged against the accused was that he drove the vehicle under the influence of alcohol in a rash and negligent manner and hit the vehicle of the deceased and caused his death.

The prosecution needs to adduce evidence to prove that the accused was under the influence of alcohol while driving. However, the chemical analysis report of the blood samples of Mr. Venkitaraman revealed that alcohol content was absent in it, argued Sasthamangalam R. Jayakrishnan, the counsel for the IAS officer.

The counsel further contended that there was no legal proof to frame charges against the petitioner and hence he was entitled to be discharged in the case.

P.P. Hakkim, District Government Pleader and Public Prosecutor, said the prosecution will file its statement of objection before the court shortly. The prosecution had also objected to the discharge petition filed by Waffa Najim, the second accused in the case, he said.

Incidentally, the court has reserved the petition of Ms. Najim for orders.

While Section 184 of the Act deals with persons who drive a motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to the public, the Section 185 deals with the offence of driving by a drunk person or by a person under the influence of drugs. The Section 188 prescribes the punishment for those persons who abet the commission of an offence under section 184 or 185 or 186 of the Act.

The police had also booked Mr. Venkitaraman under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code for rash driving or riding on a public way and Section 304, for rash and negligent act causing death to a human being, not amounting to murder .

Basheer, a journalist with a Malayalam daily was killed when the speeding car driven by Mr. Venkitaraman had hit him in the early hours of August 3, 2019.

The court has posted the case for October 14.

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