Kozhikode

Journalists seek foolproof charge sheet against Sriram Venkitaraman

KUWJ members staging a demonstration in front of Kozhikode City Police Commissioner's office on Wednesday demanding justice for journalist K.M. Basheer, who was killed in an accident in Thiurvananthapuram.

KUWJ members staging a demonstration in front of Kozhikode City Police Commissioner's office on Wednesday demanding justice for journalist K.M. Basheer, who was killed in an accident in Thiurvananthapuram.   | Photo Credit: Ramesh Kurup

KUWJ, Siraj management allege move by top officials to sabotage investigation

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and the management of Siraj daily have urged the government to ensure a foolproof charge sheet against IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, who allegedly drove a vehicle that claimed the life of journalist K.M. Basheer in a road accident on August 3.

KUWJ general secretary C. Narayanan and Siraj director Majeed Kakkad told the media on Wednesday evening that lapses could be found in the way the police registered the First Information Report (FIR). That would weaken the investigation. It was suspected that a group of senior bureaucrats and police officials had deliberately tried to leave loopholes in the legal procedures, they said.

“There was a deliberate delay in collecting Mr. Venkitaraman’s blood samples that made it impossible to detect the alleged presence of liquor in his blood. The FIR did not identify the owner of the vehicle that led to the accident and the time of the incident too was given wrong,” Mr. Narayanan said. The woman co-traveller of Mr. Venkitaraman was mentioned as a co-respondent and not as a witness, which could be challenged in the court.

The police were yet to collect the fingerprints of Mr. Venkitaraman and seek the help of forensic experts. Mr. Venkitaraman was admitted to a private hospital soon after the accident. He was shifted to the government medical college hospital only after the media highlighted it. There was high drama when he was presented before a judicial magistrate too. There seemed to be a conspiracy in all these, Mr. Narayanan claimed. He said that the special investigation team that was probing the case should examine this angle and inspect the phone records of Mr. Venkitaraman. It should also collect details of those who visited him at the hospital, Mr. Narayanan said.

The Kerala High Court was reported to have raised doubts about the police investigation when the government challenged granting of bail to Mr. Venkitaraman. The KUWJ and the newspaper management urged the government to present proper records during the trial to ensure that the IAS officer’s bail was quashed.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 5:43:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/journalists-seek-foolproof-charge-sheet-against-sriram-venkitaraman/article28872296.ece

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