The IAS officer has been accused of drunken driving and causing the death of a Kerala journalist in August 2019.

Kerala IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman
news Controversy Friday, October 09, 2020 - 08:08

Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala on Thursday spoke up against the state government’s decision to post IAS officer Dr Sriram Venkitaraman to the fact-checking team of the government to curtail fake news. The IAS officer was recently appointed as a governing council member of the fact check team led by the Public Relations Department of Kerala.

The IAS officer had been suspended last year, after he was accused of drunken driving and causing the death of a Kerala journalist in August 2019. He was reinstated back to the service this March, as the joint secretary of the health department.

Talking to the media, Ramesh Chennithala asked the state government to reconsider the appointment of Sriram IAS. "The government should immediately reconsider this appointment. The government has taken the job of protecting all those who have done wrong," Chennithala stated.

The Kerala government had started the fact check team to curtail fake news against the government and the team is headed by the Secretary of the Public Relations Department as its chairperson. According to sources, other IAS officers are also part of the governing council, in addition to Sriram IAS. The council has the powers to take decisions in matters related to the working of the fact-checking team.

Sriram IAS is an accused in the death case of journalist KM Basheer, and is booked under charges of culpable homicide for allegedly hitting Basheer, who was standing on the side of the road with his bike parked. Sriram has been summoned by the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court in Thiruvananthapuram on October 12 as part of the case, an order that the court had issued after he failed to appear before the court in three instances. A chargesheet in the case was filed by the investigation officers in February this year. He is named as the first accused in the case.

Read: 'We see delay in case as sabotage': Family of late Kerala journo KM Basheer tells TNM

Watch Ramesh Chennithala's statement:

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