Kerala

Kerala HC flays police action in Sriram Venkitaraman case

Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court  

Further hearing adjourned to August 9

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday pulled up the police for not taking in time the blood sample of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman arrested in connection with a road accident that caused the death of a journalist in Thiruvananthapuram.

When a petition filed by the State government for revoking the bail granted to him by a Thiruvananthapuram magistrate court came up for hearing, the court asked what was the justification for the police in not conducting medical test according to the law when a person was booked for drunk driving.

The court further observed orally that the police seemed to have kept away from their duty for 10 hours after the accident. The accident took place at 1 a.m. on August 3 near the museum public office in Thiruvananthapuram. The court pointed out that the blood sample was collected more than nine hours after the accident.

 

When the police did not do the job entrusted with them, how could the prosecution blame the accused. It was the duty of the police to insist on medical examination of the accused as per the law, the court orally observed.

The court also wondered why there were no CCTV cameras in Kowdiar, a sensitive area where the Governor's official residence was located. At one point of time, the court asked the government counsel "how much time the police needed to collect blood samples?’’ The police took about 10 hours to collect the sample when it needs only 15 minutes.

 

The government contended that that there were sufficient materials to constitute an offence under Section 304 part II of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder). In fact, the investigation was now only at a preliminary stage and the grant of bail at this early stage in such a serious case had prejudiced the investigation.

The State government further submitted that Sriram was drunk and he was at the wheels. He drove the vehicle knowing that over-speed might cause an accident. Besides, he had misled the police immediately after the accident, saying that the vehicle was driven by his friend Wafa, the owner of the vehicle. The investigation, however, revealed that Sriram was at the wheels.

 

The government said in its petition that the doctor of the General Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, had examined him at 2.07 a.m. on August 3 and noted that there was smell of alcohol. The doctor referred him to the Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, when Sriram complained of body pain.

However, instead of going to the Medical College Hospital, he went to KIMS Hospital without informing the police. When the police came to know of his admission at KIMS, the police after attending the slain journalist, took the blood sample by 9.45 a.m. The accused, who was a person well aware of medical as well as legal aspects, had deliberately and in collusion with the doctors of KIMS hospital tried to destroy the evidence of his alcoholic consumption.

The hearing has been adjourned to August 9.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 6:00:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-flays-police-action-in-sriram-case/article28865817.ece

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