Journalist's death: Major findings against IAS officer Sriram Venkataraman in the chargesheet
The chargesheet said Sriram was overspeeding - at a speed of over 100 kilometre per hour - while hitting the motorcycle which claimed the life of KM Basheer, the unit chief of Siraj daily.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: IAS officer Sriram Venkataraman deliberately tried to destroy evidence in the case charged against him in connection with the accident which killed a journalist in the capital last year, the Crime branch stated in its charge sheet submitted to the court. The charge sheet also listed a slew of major findings against the IAS officer, who's now on suspension. The chargesheet said he was overspeeding - at a speed of over 100 kilometre per hour - while hitting the motorcycle which claimed the life of KM Basheer, the unit chief of Siraj daily.
As per the statement of a nurse who was on duty at the general hospital, Sriram refused to give blood samples when he was taken to the hospital for medical examination. This indicated that Sriram was intentionally delaying the proceedings to dilute the presence of alcohol in his blood. He had also requested the authorities of the general hospital to refer him to a private hospital, the charge sheet said.
The charge sheet also pointed out that Sriram had dragged Basheer around 24.5 metres after hitting him with the vehicle. Scientific evidence proved that the car was driven by Sriram. The injuries found on the body of Sriram is a sign that he was overspeeding, the report by the Neurology department of the medical college hospital which was included in the charge-sheet said.
The motor vehicle department also submitted a report that the car was overspeeding which resulted in the fatal accident. As per the statement of car showroom manager, Sriram and Wafa were not hurt seriously in the accident was due to the impact beam fitted in between the car bumper and radiator. Several eye-witnesses have also testified that Sriram was drunk at the time of the accident. The General hospital doctor's statement proved that Sriram was in an inebriated condition when he was brought to the hospital for medical examination.
The 66-page charge sheet named Sriram as the first accused and his friend Wafa, the second. Details from over a hundred witnesses have been recorded and 84 material evidence has been cited. Wafa is accused of allowing Sriram to drive the car despite knowing that he was drunk. She has been charged with abetment of the crime.
Sriram has been booked under sections 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder)., and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of an offence or giving false information) of the Indian Penal Code. He has also been charged under sections 184(dangerous driving), 185 and 188 of the Motor Vehicles act. These charges can earn him jail sentence up to ten years.
Last month, a chief secretary led panel had recommended that the government reinstate him in service as the police had failed to submit a charge sheet till now. However, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had rejected the recommendation and ordered that the suspension be extended. The charge sheet was filed before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court III, Thiruvananthapuram on February 1. It was after midnight on August 3, 2019, that journalist KM Basheer, bureau chief of Malayalam daily Siraj was killed in a road accident in the state capital. His motorcycle was knocked down by a car, allegedly driven by the IAS officer.