Scribe's death:Kerala IAS officer's suspension extended

IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman

The Kerala government has extended the suspension of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman who was accused of driving a car in an inebriated condition, claiming the life of a journalist here on August 3.

Sriram's suspension has been extended, government sources told PTI. Venkitaraman, who is under suspension since August, had in his explanation to Chief Secretary Tom Jose earlier stated that he had not driven the car at the time of the accident and had not consumed liquor.

The officer was arrested on August 3, nearly 17 hours after the luxury car driven by him while returning from a private party, hit journalist K Muhammed Basheer killing him on the spot.

A Special Investigation Team is probing the case.

Basheer, 35, Thiruvananthapuram Bureau Chief of Malayalam daily 'Siraj' was on his way home from work and had stopped his motorcycle to attend a call when the car hit him.

Venkitaraman, a doctor himself, had allowed police to collect his blood sample for chemical examination 9 hours after the accident and after getting himself admitted to a private hospital here. His blood test had come out negative.

This was despite eyewitnesses stating before television cameras that the officer was in a "highly intoxicated" state.

It was after Basheer's family and media protested over the "five star treatment" being given to him that Venkitaraman was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical college hospital's Surgical intensive care unit.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had made it clear that position and rank would not be a hindrance for police to take action against erring officials.

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