Kerala IAS officer suspended over death of scribe

An IAS officer in Kerala, Sriram Venkitaraman, who was accused of drunken driving claiming a scribe's life, has been placed under suspension in the wake of the criminal case registered against him and his subsequent arrest, even as alleged attempts to save him were continuing.

An IAS officer in Kerala, Sriram Venkitaraman, who was accused of drunken driving claiming a scribe's life, has been placed under suspension in the wake of the criminal case registered against him and his subsequent arrest, even as alleged attempts to save him were continuing.

Sriram was placed under suspension by the government on the basis of a report of the state police chief Loknath Behera regarding his involvement in criminal case. The state police chief also constituted a special team under the direct supervision of  ADGP Law and ordered Sheikh Darvesh Saheb to probe the case.

Meanwhile, the blood sample test of Sriram reportedly did not detect liquor content of 30 mg per 100 ml, which is the legal limit of blood alcohol content. This triggered strong protests over the delay in subjecting Sriram to a blood test by the police. Sriram's blood samples were taken about ten hours after the accident, allegedly due to serious lapses on the part of the police.

However, Sriram's friend Wafa Firoz, who was in the vehicle at the time of the accident, had mentioned in a statement recorded before a magistrate that Sriram was in a drunken state and he was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.

K M Basheer, Thiruvananthapuram unit chief of Malayalam daily 'Siraj', was killed after the car driven by Sriram rammed into his motorcycle during the early hours of Saturday in Thiruvananthapuram city. The police did not subject Sriram to an alcohol test. Justification of the police was that Sriram maintained that he was not driving the vehicle. But as protest mounted, the police took his blood sample only by Saturday noon.

Meanwhile, Sriram was shifted to the intensive care unit of the multi-specialty block of the Thiruvananthapuram government medical college. This also triggered allegations of undue favours being extended to the IAS officer to ensure that he was not kept in prison cell. Hospital sources said that Sriram was being subjected to examinations to detect any internal injury. He was also under severe mental stress.

Kerala health minister K K Shylaja said that a medical board would be reviewing Sriram's medical condition and no undue facilities would be extended to him.

Sriram filed a bail application at a magistrate court in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. The court will hear the application on Tuesday.

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