KOCHI: For the second time in a week, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday refused to stay the bail granted to IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman in a road accident case in which a young journalist was killed, even as it slammed the manner in which the police handled the case.
The accident happened when a speeding car allegedly driven by a drunk Venkitaraman hit a biker K.M. Basheer on August 3. The IAS officer was returning from a late-night party with his woman friend who owns the car.
Basheer was a journalist with a Malayalam daily. He was killed on the spot. According to eyewitnesses, Venkitaraman was accompanied by his friend Waha Firoz.
It is alleged that the police after coming to know that the accused was an IAS officer, delayed even the mandatory medical tests to be done in case of a road accident.
The High Court on Tuesday gave its verdict after the prosecution (Kerala government) moved a petition seeking to cancel the bail granted by a lower court to Venkitaraman.
The court had observed that mere oral testimony was not enough which said that the officer was under the influence of alcohol, when the laboratory tests revealed otherwise.
It also pointed out that there were serious lapses in the way the police did their job soon after the accident, and pointed out that the bail granted by the lower court will stay.
The court also refused the police's plea that they need to question the IAS officer.
Last Wednesday also, the High Court criticised the way the police went about their job in collecting evidence against Venkitaraman.
It was last Tuesday that the IAS officer got bail from a lower court in the state capital, and the next day the Kerala government moved an urgent petition seeking to cancel the bail.
Even though, two witnesses have said the IAS officer was seen under the influence of alcohol, the police team failed to take the blood sample on time. The blood sample was taken nine hours later, and the report came up negative for alcohol.
Venkitaraman who was suspended last week, was admitted in the intensive care unit of the state-run medical college hospital in the state capital and was discharged on Monday.