Sriram Venkitaraman, the IAS officer who was arrested for his involvement in the drunk driving accident that led to the death of journalist KM Basheer, has been granted bail. The Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Thiruvananthapuram, granted him the bail on Tuesday. Basheer was the Thiruvananthapuram Bureau Chief of Siraj newspaper.
After spending two nights in the 'remand cell' of the Government Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday and Monday, he was granted bail without the police having given custody. Asking how the officials concluded that Sriram was drunk at the time of the accident, the court rejected the plea to grant the police his custody.
Meanwhile, the Siraj management, which manages Siraj newspaper, has filed a plea to subject him for a dope test and also to include the police as accused in the case. Reacting to the bail, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) General Secretary C Narayanan said that the people understood the hidden motives of the police in the case and there will be protests from journalists. The union will also move legally.
In the early hours of Saturday, Sriramâ€™s car had rammed into Basheer's motorcycle. There was another passenger in the car. According to eyewitnesses, Sriram drove the car and was visibly drunk. The police, however, came under fire for not taking Sriramâ€™s blood sample for alcohol content soon after the accident. It was only nine hours after the accident the blood test was conducted and the arrest was recorded.
Sriram was arrested for the drunk driving incident that killed 35-year-old Basheer early Saturday morning. The accident took place at 1 am on Saturday near the museum public office in Thiruvananthapuram.
He was booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 279 (Rash driving or riding on a public way) and 304 (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder). He was remanded to judicial custody on Monday and was suspended from service as the Survey Director.
Meanwhile, on Monday, a special investigation team (SIT), headed by ADGP (Law and Order) Shaik Dervesh Saheb, has been formed to probe the accident in detail. State Police Chief Loknath Behera issued the order in this regard on Monday evening.