After the Kerala police's Special Investigation Team (SIT) filed their interim report on the road accident in which journalist KM Basheer who worked for Siraj newspaper died after being hit by a car driven by an IAS officer, the newspaper's management have now alleged that the status report submitted to the High Court contains factual errors.
Stating that the delay in filing the FIR was the reason for the police not taking the IAS officer Sriram's blood sample immediately, the SIT's report places the blame on Saifudeen Haji, director of Siraj newspaper who is the complainant. The report adds that Haji had agreed to give his statement only after the blood sample of the 2nd accused Wafa, who was in the passenger seat when the accident took place, was taken.
Once, the blood sample of the second accused was taken, "the complainant returned to the police station around 7:00 am and gave his statement," the report states.
Speaking to TNM, Saifudeen added that this was absolutely baseless and false.
"I had made no made no such conditions. It is true that I had demanded for the second accused's blood sample to be taken. She had come to the station during the time which is why is why there was a delay in recording my statement. However, despite this I gave my statement between 4 and 5:30 am. But the police record states that I had given it at 7 am. In fact, there was a 2 hour delay in the FIR being filed even after my statement. This was because there was no trained personnel to electronically record the FIR. It was finally filed at 7:27 am," he said.
"The police cannot blame the laxity in initial investigations on the complainant. They could have even taken suo motu action in this case since Basheer had died. But they did not record any evidence following the incident," Saifudeen added.
Moreover, the SIT fails to explain why the police did not insist on blood sample though the doctor who first inspected Sriram had clearly written that he smelt of alcohol.
Haji and his colleages will be meeting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and senior police officials on Monday to point out the discrepancies in the interim report. "We will give the SIT time to rectify the errors and omissions in its final report. If they still fail, we will have to decide upon our next course of action," he said.
"We place our hope on Chief Minister, who himself announced that the IAS officer was under the influence of alcohol. We will point out to him the glaring omissions made by the SIT and expect that Basheer will get justice," added Saifudeen.
Basheer, the Thiruvananthapuram bureau chief of Siraj newspaper, was killed after being hit by a speeding car driven by Sriram Venkitaraman earlier this month.
The IAS officer was returning from a late-night party with his friend Waha Firoz, who owns the car. Medical report taken after the accident indicated that Sriram smelled of alcohol. However, the police officers had failed to record evidence by taking a sample of the IAS officer's break using the breath analyser. They even let the second accused leave the spot and go home in a private vehicle. Allegations of intentionally delaying medical tests have been raised against the Kerala police following the accident.
Saifudeen said the police was yet to recover Basheer's mobile phone, which was last active till about an hour after his death in the accident.
With inputs from IANS