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Published On: Sat, Aug 3rd, 2019

Kerala IAS officer’s drunken driving kills journalist

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Z5CZ90wp Z5CZ90wpTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  K Muhammed Basheer, 35, killed was killed in a road accident in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram late last night when a car driven allegedly by an IAS officer rammed his motorcycle, killing him on the spot.Mr Basheer has a wife and two children.
K Muhammed Basheer, 35, was the Thiruvananthapuram bureau chief of Malayalam daily Siraj. The incident took place at around 1 am in the heart of the city when he was returning home from work, the police said.
Apart from IAS officer Sreeram Venkitaraman, a woman was also in the blue Volkswagen, the police said. “There were conflicting statements. We have now confirmed from independent witnesses that Sreeram Venkitaraman was driving the vehicle,” Thiruvananthapuram police chief Dhinendra Kashyap told news agency PTI.
As allegations of conspiracy for a cover-up surfaced, police sources confirmed that Sriram Venkataraman, 33, initially refused to give his blood sample for testing. “When someone refuses to give blood sample, there are legal procedures that need to be initiated, which include arrest, and the blood to be taken by a government doctor.

But eventually, the man agreed for his blood sample to be collected. According to a police source he had certainly consumed alcohol, because the initial medical report states of smell of liquor.

The officer’s blood sample was taken for testing at around 10 am.Police said both occupants of the vehicle, including the IAS officer, were in an inebriated condition and the car was cruising at a high speed.
“I was returning after watching a movie. At around 1 am, I saw a car bang into the wall. Initially I didn’t see anything else. Then I saw a bike rammed into the wall. Eventually, I saw a man exit the driver’s seat,” Joby G, an eyewitness, told ndtv. His statement has been taken by the police.
Images from the accident site – near the government museum on Vellayambalam Road – showed the motorcycle upside down against a compound wall and the car badly damaged in the front.

Parts of the motorcycle and the car were strewn around and Mr Basheer’s slippers and some others were found metres away from the accident spot. Blood stains were seen on the road.Cases of rash driving and “punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder” have been registered.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and the minister for temple bodies Kadakkampally Surendran were among those who expressed grief at the death of the journalist.
Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has demanded a fair investigation and has written to the Chief Minister and the Kerala police chief. Mr Venkitaraman, also a Medical doctor and Fullbright Fellow, had recently returned to the state after completing higher studies abroad. His friend who accompanied him owned the Volkswagen sedan.
(With PTI Inputs)

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