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No trace of alcohol, IAS officer gets bail

Test done after nine hours

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 06.08.19, 09:11 PM
Sriram Venkitaraman

Sriram Venkitaraman (Sourced by Correspondent)

A Kerala court on Tuesday granted bail to IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, accused of drink-driving that led to the death of a journalist, on the ground that police had failed to establish that the young bureaucrat was drunk when the accident took place.

A magistrate’s court in Thiruvananthapuram took cognisance of a test report from a government hospital that found no trace of alcohol in Venkitaraman’s blood. However, journalists have questioned the accuracy of the test, which was done nine hours after the accident, and alleged that it was deliberately delayed to save the influential and celebrated IAS officer.


While the accident, in which journalist K.M. Basheer was mowed down by the car being allegedly driven by Venkitaraman, took place at 12.55am on Saturday, blood was drawn at 10am on that day.

The blood was taken by the police’s forensic team at a private hospital where Venkitaraman had been admitted initially, allegedly on the request of the officer. The sample was tested at Government Medical College, where Venkitaraman was shifted on Sunday evening.

The court also dismissed the prosecution’s plea for police custody of Venkitaraman, taking into consideration a medical report from Government Medical College that said he needed to be under observation for 72 hours.

The Kerala government on Monday suspended the 32-year-old IAS officer until further orders.

Journalists who have taken up the cause for their deceased colleague have accused the police of playing foul by delaying the mandatory blood test to determine the content of alcohol in Venkitaraman’s blood.

The media fraternity has alleged that the test was deliberately delayed to protect Venkitaraman, who gained massive popularity by taking on the high and mighty by cracking down on encroachers with political backing.

Venkitaraman had allegedly been at the wheel of the Volkswagen Vento car of his friend Wafa Firoz when the accident took place. Wafa had gone to pick Venkitaraman up from a party, held to celebrate his rejoining work after a course at Harvard University, allegedly because he was drunk.

Venkitaraman, an MBBS degree-holder, had completed his masters in public health from Harvard University.

The officer was shifted from the private hospital to Government Medical College based on a magistrate’s order that followed an outcry over providing him “five-star” comforts.

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