Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has ordered for an extension of the suspension period of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman by another three months. The decision came after the CM turned down recommendation by Chief Secretary Tom Jose to reinstate Sriram. The six-month suspension period was initially set to finish this week.
Sriram, who was then the Survey Director, was suspended after he was accused of hitting and killing journalist KM Basheer in a road accident on August 3, 2019. Eyewitnesses in the area also said that Sriram was in an inebriated state.
35-year-old Basheer was the Thiruvananthapuram bureau chief of the Malayalam daily Siraj. So far, no chargesheet has been filed in the case and the recommendation to reinstate him into service has been made also due to the absence of a chargesheet.
In 2015, the Supreme Court had held that the suspension of a government employee was not valid after 90 days unless a chargesheet had been filed within that period.
The period of suspension of an IAS officer can go up to a maximum of one year, as per the rules. During that period, the inquiry against him should be completed and appropriate order should be issued, failing which the suspension order will automatically be revoked, reports Times of India.
On Tuesday, the committee headed by the chief secretary had recommended that Sriram be reinstated into service. He was placed on suspension on August 5, which was later extended.
However, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists on Wednesday requested the CM not to revoke the suspension.