IAS officer in dock after journalist killed in accident

A young IAS officer in Kerala is in the dock after the car he was travelling in rammed into a journalist, killing him on the spot in Thiruvananthapuram city in the early hours of Saturday.

A young IAS officer in Kerala was arrested after the car he was driving knocked down a journalist, killing him on the spot in Thiruvananthapuram in the early hours of Saturday.

Dr Sriram Venkitaraman, the IAS officer who was driving the sedan, had initially tried to mislead the investigation by maintaining that a woman who was with him was driving the car. But eyewitnesses said the IAS officer was behind the wheel and was in an inebriated state.

The deceased has been identified as K M Basheer (35), who was working as the Thiruvananthapuram unit chief of Malayalam daily ‘Siraj’. He is a native of Malappuram district. He leaves behind his mother, wife and two daughters.

Venkitaraman was in the news earlier after he initiated steps to evict encroachments in Idukki district. Venkitaraman, who was on study leave, was posted as director of Survey and Land Records only recently. Following his arrest, he may be suspended, government sources said.

The accident occurred around 1 am on Saturday. Basheer was returning home after an official meeting in Kollam district. The speeding car knocked down Basheer’s motorcycle from behind, killing him on the spot. Venkitaraman’s initial version was that his friend Waha Firoz, who owned the car, was driving it. Waha, said to be an NRI businesswoman and model, also claimed that she was driving.

Based on this, the police did not subject the IAS officer to blood tests to ascertain the level of alcohol. Waha was subjected to tests and since no alcohol presence was found in her blood, only a case for rash driving was initiated.

However, with many eyewitnesses stating that they spotted a male in the driver’s seat, Waha was forced to reveal that it was Venkitaraman at the wheel. The police took his blood samples and alcohol presence was learnt to be confirmed. Based on this, the police invoked non-bailable sections and recorded the arrest of the IAS officer, who is being treated for minor injuries at a private hospital.

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