For the second time in a week, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday refused to stay the bail granted to IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman in a road accident case, in which a young journalist was killed. The court also slammed the manner in which the police handled the case.
The accident took place when a speeding car driven by Sriram, who was allegedly drunk, hit journalist KM Basheer's two-wheelers parked on the side of the road in Thiruvananthapuram, on August 3. A female friend, Wafa Firoz, was also in the car when the accident took place. The car was owned by the woman. Basheer was a journalist with a Malayalam daily, Siraj. He was killed on the spot. According to eyewitnesses, Venkitaraman was in an inebriated state when he got out of the car after hitting the bike.
It is alleged that the police, after coming to know that the accused was an IAS officer, delayed even the mandatory medical tests to be done in case of a road accident. The High Court on Tuesday gave its verdict after the prosecution (Kerala government) moved a petition seeking to cancel the bail granted by a lower court to Sriram.
The court had observed that mere oral testimony was not enough, which said that the officer was under the influence of alcohol, when the laboratory tests revealed otherwise. It also pointed out that there were serious lapses in the way the police did their job soon after the accident, and pointed out that the bail granted by the lower court will stay.
It was last Tuesday that the IAS officer got bail from a lower court in the state capital, and the next day the Kerala government moved an urgent petition seeking to cancel the bail. Last Wednesday also, the High Court criticised the way the police went about their job in collecting evidence against Sriram. The court also refused the police's plea for the custody of the IAS officer.
Even though, two witnesses have said the Sriram was seen under the influence of alcohol, the police team failed to take the blood sample on time. The blood sample was taken nine hours later, and the report came up negative for alcohol.
Sriram, who has been suspended, was admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Government Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram and was discharged on Monday.
On Thursday, the doctors treating Sriram had said that the IAS officer is allegedly showing signs of retrograde amnesia and that he may have a concussion, which could be why he is showing signs of amnesia.
Retrograde amnesia refers to a form of temporary memory loss, usually due to a recent trauma or injury. According to the doctors, this was not a serious condition and will not affect the case, as some patients get their memory back with passage of time.