Car driven by IAS officer mows down journalist in Kerala

The 33-year-old IAS officer, Sreeram Venkitaraman, who was appointed Survey Director by the state cabinet on Thursday, was behind the wheel when the accident occurred, a senior police officer said

Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @Dev_discourse
Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @Dev_discourse
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PTI

A young journalist of a local newspaper was killed early Saturday when a car driven by an IAS officer, allegedly in an inebriated state, mowed him down.

The 33-year-old IAS officer, Sreeram Venkitaraman, who was appointed Survey Director by the state cabinet on Thursday, was behind the wheel when the accident occurred, a senior police officer said.

Venkitaraman, also a Medical doctor and Fulbright Fellow, had recently returned to the state after completing higher studies abroad. He was accompanied by model-friend Wafa Firoze, the owner of the luxury car.

The rashly driven car hit the stationary motorcycle of K Muhammed Basheer (35), Bureau Chief of Malayalam newspaper 'Siraj', at Museum road in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram as he was returning home from work.

Parts of the motorbike and the car were strewn around and Basheer's slippers and some articles were found metres away from the accident spot. Blood stains were seen on the road.

According to police, a case has been registered under section IPC 279 (rash driving on a public way) and 304A (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the two accused.

Eyewitnesses told television channels that the car overtook some auto rickshaws and hit the motorcycle at a high speed.

Due to the impact of the collision, Basheer was thrown off his bike, suffering serious injuries and died on the spot.

Though Venkitaraman had earlier reportedly stated that his friend wad driving the car, the woman later in her statement told police categorically that it was the IAS officer who was behind the wheel at the time of the crash.

“There were conflicting statements on who drove the car. We have now confirmed from independent witnesses that Sreeram Venkitaraman was driving the vehicle," IGP and Thiruvananthapuram Police commissioner, Dhinendra Kashyap said.

The blood samples and statement of the official has also been taken.

Venkitaraman, who is also said to be injured, was admitted to a private hospital here.

Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has demanded a proper and truthful investigation in the case to bring the guilty to book.

Transport Minister A K Saseendran said IAS officers should set an example for others by following rules and regulations strictly.

Steps would be taken to cancel the driving license of the accused, he told reporters.

Expressing deep shock and grief, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the media fraternity had lost a member who had a bright future.

Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala and Devaswom Minister, Kadakkampally Surendran, were among those who expressed grief on the death of the journalist who leaves behind his wife and two children.

The KUWJ has also shot off separate letters to Vijayan and DGP Loknath Behera, demanding an impartial and transparent probe into the incident and that culprits be booked.

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