THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Thiruvananthapuram first class judicial magistrate court on Tuesday issued an order allowing IAS officer Sriram Venkataraman's plea seeking CCTV footage and other documents seized by the police in connection with the death of journalist KM Basheer in a road accident.
Sriram sought the CCTV footage from the surveillance cameras installed on the stretch from Kowdiar to Museum junction. The case has been posted for November 12. However, the first accused Sriram and second accused Wafa Feroz did not appear in the court on Tuesday.
Earlier, Sriram and Wafa were granted bail in the case. Sriram is accused of knocking down Basheer while he was driving the car allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Though Wafa appeared in the court on time, Sriram failed to appear three times after the court issued summons. Later, the court had to issue an ultimatum to the officer. Sriram had earlier cited various reasons not to appear in the court. The charge sheet of the case was submitted by the investigation team in the court on February 3, 2020. Following this, copies of the charge sheet were given to the lawyers of both the accused on February 24.
The accused were asked to appear in the court invoking Section 209 of CrPC. On the basis of the charge sheet, the court had earlier observed that Section 304 (II) (Culpable homicide) is chargeable against Sriram. Since the case will be transferred to the sessions court soon, the judicial first class magistrate needs to complete the proceedings including the renewal of bail bonds. For this purpose, the accused need to appear in the court.
As per the findings in the charge sheet submitted by the crime branch, Sriram deliberately tried to destroy evidence in the case. The charge sheet said he was overspeeding -- at over 100 kilometres per hour -- when he hit the motorcycle of Basheer, the unit chief of the daily Siraj.
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 had said.
The charge sheet had also pointed out that the vehicle had dragged Basheer around 24.5 metres after the collision. It said scientific evidence proved that the car was driven by Sriram. Details from over a hundred witnesses were recorded and 84 pieces of material evidence were 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.
The accident took place near the Museum junction in Thiruvananthapuram on August 3, 2019.