Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala journalist killed in accident, IAS officer accused of driving the car

The car rammed into the two-wheeler that overturned before smashing into the office compound wall.

The car rammed into the two-wheeler that overturned before smashing into the office compound wall.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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CCTV footage recovered from the premises confirmed that the over-speeding car rammed into the two-wheeler that overturned before smashing into the office compound wall.

A senior journalist was killed in an accident after his motorcycle was rammed at high speed by a car in which Survey and Land Records Director Sriram Venkitaraman was travelling. The incident took a curious turn after eye-witnesses claimed that the IAS official drove the car, even as the police claimed otherwise.

K.M. Basheer, 35, the Thiruvananthapuram bureau chief of Malayalam daily Siraj, died in the accident that took place outside the Public Office complex, a short distance away from the Museum police station at around 1 a.m. on Saturday. Despite being rushed to the Government Medical College Hospital, his life could not be saved.

Journalist K.M. Basheer was killed when a car rammed into his motorcycle in Thiruvanathapuram

Journalist K.M. Basheer was killed when a car rammed into his motorcycle in Thiruvanathapuram   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

CCTV footage recovered from the Public Office premises confirmed that the over-speeding car, which came from Vellayambalam, rammed into the two-wheeler that overturned before smashing into the office compound wall.

Opposing narratives

The purported delay on the part of the police in initiating legal proceedings has raised eyebrows with allegations rife that efforts were on to protect those responsible for the incident.

The police initially claimed that the car was driven by its owner, Wafa Firoze of Marappalam, while Dr. Venkitaraman sat on the passenger seat. However, two auto-rickshaw drivers — Shafeeq and Manikuttan, who claimed to have witnessed the incident — told media persons that it was the IAS official who drove the vehicle. They also claimed that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of incident.

Medical tests delayed

The failure of the police to subject the passengers to medical test soon after the accident has also been questioned. Initially, Ms. Firoze was purportedly sent home in a taxi from the accident scene. She was later summoned by the Museum police and subjected to a medical test.

Dr. Venkitaraman, who was admitted to the General Hospital with a minor hand injury, allegedly refused to undergo tests. Later, while he was referred to the Government Medical College Hospital, he chose to seek treatment in a private hospital in the city.

Additional Commissioner of Police, Thiruvananthapuram, Sanjay Kumar Gurudin, said that there were certain legal formalities to be followed when a person refuses to undergo medical tests. Nonetheless, the examination will be conducted shortly, he said.

He added that the police have identified the driver, adding that the finding “differed from what was claimed earlier.”

Basheer, who hailed from Tirur in Malappuram, is survived by his wife and two daughters. His body will be brought to Thiruvananthapuram Press Club for the public to pay homage, following which the mortal remains will be taken to his hometown.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 4:53:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/kerala-journalist-killed-in-accident-ias-officer-accused-of-driving-the-car/article28804983.ece

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