Kerala IAS officer Sriram Venkitraman was on Saturday arrested in connection with the death of 35-year-old Kerala journalist KM Basheer, who was killed on Saturday morning after the car the IAS officer was travelling in rammed into his motorcycle.
Sriram has been booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 279 (Rash driving or riding on a public way) and 304 (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder). While initial reports had stated that a woman friend of the IAS officer, named Wafa, was driving the car, the police confirmed to TNM that preliminary investigation shows he drove the car. Even eyewitnesses had stated that they had seen Sriram behind the wheels of the car. According to auto drivers who witnessed the accident, Sriram himself got out of the car, removed the journalist from the bike and placed him on the ground, reported Asianet.
Sriram had sustained minor injuries in the accident and was admitted to the KIMS hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. The Thiruvananthapuram police have come under major criticism for not collecting the blood sample of the IAS officer, despite the law giving them the rights to do so. Moreover, the woman passenger was allowed to go home in a taxi, despite the victim dying. Her statement was recorded only on Saturday noon.
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Immediately after the accident, which took place near the museum public office at 1 am on Saturday, Basheer was rushed to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital but he had passed away by then. Due to the impact of the accident, Basheer's bike had hit a nearby wall and was found leaning against it in an upstanding position with its front wheel resting on top of the wall. Visuals from the accident site, which have been doing the rounds, show parts of the car and bike scattered on the road, with massive skid marks.
Basheer, who had begun his career in Tirur in 2003, was a prominent journalist in Thiruvananthapuram who rose through the ranks of Siraj newspaper over the years and was the Thiruvananthapuram bureau chief of Siraj newspaper. His mortal remains were taken to the city's press club and thousands gathered to pay their respects. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also condoled the young journalist's death.