Kerala journalist dies after ‘drunk’ IAS officer Sriram Venkataraman’s car rams into bike

There are reports that the IAS officer, who was recently posted as Survey Director, was under the influence of alcohol when the accident occurred.

Published: 03rd August 2019 11:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd August 2019 08:12 PM   |  A+A-

The site of the accident in which journalist K M Basheer was killed

The site of the accident in which journalist K M Basheer was killed. (Photo |Vincent Pulickal/ EPS)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 35-year-old journalist was killed in the early hours of Saturday after he was hit by a car allegedly driven by young IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman under the influence of alcohol.

The car, which was overspeeding, rammed into KM Basheer’s bike near Museum Junction in the capital city. The deceased is KM Basheer, a native of Tirur in Malappuram district.

Basheer, the Thiruvananthapuram unit head of Malayalam daily 'Siraj' was rushed to the Government Medical College Hospital where but he succumbed to injuries.

While Venkitaraman suffered minor injuries, his friend Wafa Firoze who was also travelling in the car escaped unhurt. There are reports that the IAS officer, who was recently posted as Survey Director, was under the influence of alcohol when the accident occurred.

The incident sparked a furore after the police dragged their feet in registering a case against the IAS officer for drunken driving and invoking Sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) that attract non-bailable offence and jail term.    

After much persuasion and mounting pressure, the Museum Police invoked Section 304 ( Punishment for Culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and Section 279 (rash driving) of IPC. The police also invoked non-bailable Sections after police chief Loknath Behera instructed the cops to do so.  

The police have collected the blood samples of the accused nine hours after the accident despite a witness to the accident testified that Venkitaraman was at the wheel in an inebriated condition.

The police rejected the witness' claim and said Venkitaraman's friend Wafa was driving the vehicle. Ironically, they allowed her to leave the place without recording her statement. Police summoned her after the "lapses" was pointed out by media.  

When asked about these "lapses", Additional City Police Commissioner  Sanjay Kumar Gurudin, said, "We have to follow the legal formalities. Law says no one can compel someone to provide blood samples.

However, he later confirmed that the IAS officer was drunk while on the wheels".    

According to an eyewitness account, the car, which was overspeeding, rammed into Basheer’s motorcycle near Museum Junction in the capital around 1 am on Saturday.  The bike and the care were moving in the same direction from Vellyamabalam to Museum side. Basheer was returning to Thiruvananthapuram after attending a bureau meeting at Kollam. 

The motorcycle was in front and the speeding car hit the bike after the driver lost control. Basheer and his bike were thrown away by the impact of the collision. Though he was taken into Medical college hospital by the police and the passers-by, his life could not be saved.

In her statement, Wafa, who owns the car, said she brought the vehicle to an apartment at Kowdiar after Venkitaraman demanded. Wafa said Venkitaraman got drunk in a booze party as he was not happy with his posting as Survey Director. She also admitted to the police that Venkitaraman was drunk while driving the car and he was overspeeding.

"Sriram demanded to drive the car after reaching Cafe Coffee Day at Kowdiar. He drove very fast and refused to slow down despite my requests", Wafa told the police.    

Jithu, an eyewitness, said that Venkitaraman requested him to take Basheer to a hospital in his scooter immediately after the incident. He also claimed to have seen Venkitaraman behind the wheel. 
Basheer's body was kept in city press club for public homage before it was sent to his ancestral place for the last rites. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala paid tributes to the deceased journalist.

Basheer is survived by wife Jaseela and two daughters Janna and Asmi. 


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