Kerala IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman who has been remanded by police and admitted at a super specialty hospital in Thiruvananthapuram following an accident that resulted in the death of a journalist, was shifted to Government Medical College on Sunday after much drama.
The IAS officer was arrested on Saturday following the accident that killed 35-year-old journalist KM Basheer. Though later on Saturday he was remanded by the judicial magistrate for 14 days, Sriram was allowed to continue in the hospital.
This kicked up a controversy as media raised questions on why Sriram was allowed to continue in a super speciality hospital and not being shifted to Government Medical College as is done usually. Reports had also stated that Sriram was getting luxury treatment inside the hospital, and that he was even found to be using phone and WhatsApp.
The investigation officials or the hospital administration have not officially put out a statement on the health condition of Sriram, on what was the requirement for him to continue his stay at the super speciality hospital. This is even after media and a section of political leaders including Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, demanded to know the medical condition of the IAS officer.
Following the controversy, orders were given to the administration of KIMS hospital, where he was admitted, for him to be shifted from there.
Sriram was seen with his face covered as he was carried in a stretcher into the ambulance from KIMS. Though it was reported initially that Sriram will be shifted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, he was directly taken to the house of judicial magistrate Amal SR. The IAS officer was then taken to District Jail in Thiruvananthapuram after the magistrate examined him inside the ambulance.
According to reports, the magistrate had stated that there was no need for Sriram to be admitted in hospital if his condition was found to be better.
Though Sriram was finally brought to the District Jail, he was not taken inside the prison. A medical officer who came inside the ambulance examined Sriram and after more than an hour outside the entrance of District Jail, Sriram was again shifted again from there in an ambulance to Medical College hospital.
Criticisms have been raised again and speculations are flying around as the medical condition of the IAS officer is yet to be declared in public.
Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, demanded that a medical bulletin on the condition of Venkitaraman be released.
"According to the All India Service rules, now that his arrest has been recorded, he should be suspended from service... that has not happened. Also a probe should be initiated to find out how crucial lapses occurred the way the police handled this case after the accident occurred and for this Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should act," the Congress leader said.
State Public Works Department Minister and senior CPI(M) leader G. Sudhakaran said that IAS officers should be treated like common people. "If someone is IAS, it does not mean anything.... such people are not God," he said.
Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) on Sunday had put out a statement criticising the need for Sriram to be treated at a super speciality hospital while normally people will be sent in similar cases to Medical College hospital.
Sriram Venkitraman, who is the Survey Director, was arrested under sections 279 (Rash driving) and 304 (Culpable homicide amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).