Sriram Venkitaraman case: Witness says he saw IAS officer at the wheel

Architect says he sensed smell of alcohol

Updated - November 28, 2021 10:24 am IST

Published - August 10, 2019 11:46 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Sriram Venkitaraman.

Sriram Venkitaraman.

More evidence emerged on Saturday that IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman was at the wheel of the car involved in the road accident that killed journalist K. M. Basheer early July 3, according to State police officers.

A 28-year-old architect has told the police that he had witnessed the collision and that Mr. Venkitaraman was steering the vehicle at the time. He was returning home after a later night movie when he saw the car, allegedly driven by the bureaucrat, slam the motorbike ridden by Basheer in front of the Public Office complex opposite to the Museum grounds. The journalist had pulled to the side of the road and was in the process of dismounting from the motorbike when the accident occurred.

Statement recorded

Investigators said the witness had stated that he suspected Mr. Venkitaraman was under the influence of alcohol. "The witness said he had sensed the smell of alcohol in the suspect's breath," an officer said. The police have recorded the architect's statement.


However, Mr Venkitaraman has consistently denied that he was drunk at the time of the accident. He had told the police on Friday that the incident was an involuntary offence and not a culpable homicide caused due to alcohol-impaired reckless driving as made out by a section of the press.

Moreover, the police have no medical evidence to prove the bureaucrat was inebriated at the time of the accident. The failure on the part of the crash investigators to initiate a medical test to verify whether Mr. Venkitaraman was drunk at the time had caused a gap in the probe and elicited widespread public criticism.

Conspiracy charge

The police were investigating two of their officers on the charge of conspiring to help the accused evade the law by delaying the mandatory test for determining drunkenness. They said they would subpoena Venkitaraman's medical records from the private hospital which treated him and examine the integrity of the blood sample submitted for the alcohol impairment test at the Chief Chemical Examiner's laboratory nearly 10 hours after the accident.

The police would also verify the allegation that doctors had administered the suspect drugs to suppress or remove the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream.

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