A recent RTI reply on the condition of CCTV cameras in Thiruvananthapuram city has led to suspicion about one of the claims made by the police in IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman case. The police had claimed there was no CCTV video evidence along the Kowdiar- Musuem stretch of the accident which killed journalist KM Basheer.
KM Basheer, a journalist with Siraj newspaper in Thiruvananthapuram, was killed during the wee hours on August 3 after the car drove by young IAS officer Sriram hit him.
The police had claimed that there was no video of the accident, but an RTI response by the Thiruvananthapuram District Police Command Centre to activist Raju Vazhakkala stated that four cameras on the road near Thiruvananthapuram museum, where the accident happened, are functional. Only the CCTVs at Velayambalam, from where the car was passing towards the museum stretch, are defunct. The RTI states that out of 233 cameras in the capital city, 144 were in working condition.
The RTI query was filed by Kochi native Raju Vazhakkala on August 2, the day prior to the accident.
Thiruvananthapuram Police Commissioner Ajith Kumar however told TNM that many cameras were repaired in the last three weeks following the furore over the accident. "The RTI reply reflects that, the number of cameras that were repaired," he told TNM.
If the police's claim that CCTVs did not work turn out to be false, it will open a new can of worms. The police is already facing flak for not doing a blood check on Sriram within a stipulated time. Due to this, his blood levels did not show any alcohol, despite the duty doctor noting that he was smelling of alcohol. Many eyewitnesses too have said that the IAS officer was inebriated.