Kerala journalist death: IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman shifted to prisoner’s ward in Government Medical College Hospital

Government likely to act against IAS officer.

Updated - November 28, 2021 10:27 am IST

Published - August 04, 2019 09:36 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Sriram Venkitaraman. File

Sriram Venkitaraman. File

The State government is poised to act against IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, who the police had indicted for alcohol-impaired reckless driving that resulted in the death of journalist K.M. Basheer early Saturday.

Also read: Kerala journalist's death: outcry over police ‘inaction’

Meanwhile, the police shifted Mr. Venkitaraman from the private hospital where they had admitted him following the accident to the prisoner’s ward at Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) in Thiruvananthapuram . Earlier, a magistrate had pronounced him fit to be incarcerated.

High-profile case: Sriram Venkitaraman being moved out of a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

High-profile case: Sriram Venkitaraman being moved out of a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

 

Later, the prison doctor referred him to the MCH after Mr. Venkitaraman’s discharge summary indicated that he had sustained spinal trauma in the accident and required medical attention.

Sharp ciriticism

The government had come under sharp criticism for “allowing” Mr. Venkitaraman to stay in the luxury of a top-notch hospital despite the “gravity of his crime”.

Officials said Chief Secretary Tom Jose had received a preliminary report from the State police detailing the charges against the young bureaucrat.

The police have informed the government that they had booked Mr. Venkitaraman for culpable homicide not amounting to murder for having caused the fatal accident in an inebriated state. The crime entails a punishment of up to 10 years of imprisonment.

An early indication of the impending action against the bureaucrat was evident in Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s stern warning that nobody was above the law. Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan also signalled that the government viewed the matter gravely. Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala had sought Mr. Venkitaraman’s removal from service.

Watertight case

The police claimed they have a watertight case against the bureaucrat. The Chief Chemical Examiner’s laboratory is scheduled to submit a report on August 5 whether Mr. Venkitaraman was alcohol-impaired or not at the time of the collision.

The GH doctor who examined has issued a certificate that said Mr. Venkitaraman had tested ‘positive plus’ for alcohol impairment.

Mr. Venkitaraman’s co-passenger, a woman, had testified before a magistrate that the bureaucrat appeared “drunk” and had insisted on driving the vehicle at high speed despite her protests.

The police have also booked the woman for allowing the “inebriated person” to drive the car registered in her name.

 

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