Thiruvananthapuram: One more witnesses has come forward to testify that IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman was inebriated on the night of the fatal accident that killed journalist KM Basheer.
Benson, a witness to the accident that occurred in the heart of the Kerala capital at midnight a fortnight ago, claimed that the police attitude towards Sriram underwent a significant change after he flashed his identity card at them.
Benson is an employee at an online delivery service company.
Sriram drove the vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He was sure of it, Benson testified. When the police first rushed to the site of accident, they were angry and rude to him. However, they were respectful toward him once they discovered his identity. The new investigation team has decided to make Benson the key witness in the case.
Despite spotting Sriram climb out of the driving seat, the police enquired who drove the vehicle, Benson added.
Three other witnesses, including two auto-drivers had earlier testified that Sriram drove the vehicle on the night of the accident. One of the witnesses, Joby had also vouched for the fact that Sriram was under the influence of alcohol when he climbed out of the car.
As reported earlier, Sriram was granted bail by the magistrate court at Thiruvananthapuram in his first plea itself due to the failure of the police in presenting necessary proof for alcohol consumption and speeding.
The local court at Vanchiyoor had granted bail to Sriram apparently on grounds that the alcohol test conducted on him proved negative. Moreover, the court likely took into account his continuing medical treatment for a hand injury suffered during the accident. The Kerala High Court later ratified the bail granted to him by the lower court.
The alleged delay in collecting Sriram's blood sample after the accident likely led to the negative blood result. The accident happened around 12:55 am on August 3, but there was a delay of nine hours in collecting the blood specimen for alcohol test.
Basheer had died after a car apparently driven by Sriram rammed the former's bike near the Museum Junction. Though it was initially suspected that Wafa Firoz, the car's owner was driving at the time of accident, it was later proved otherwise.