Sriram was drunk and speeding, tried to destroy evidence: Charge Sheet

Kerala IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, who mowed down journo, to be suspended soon?

Thiruvananthapuram: Suspended IAS officer Sriram Venkitraman tried to destroy evidence after the deadly drunk-driving accident that killed a journalist in the Kerala capital last year, the Crime Branch stated in its charge sheet on the case.

Though Sriram was asked for a blood sample by the nurse on duty after being transferred to a private hospital from the District General Hospital, he refused to provide it. The nurse has recorded this fact in the charge sheet now submitted to the Chief Judicial Magistrate court in the Kerala capital.

The charge sheet also alleges that Sriram employed various dilatory tactics to avoid the collection of the sample until the alcohol content in his blood became untraceable.

Sriram requested for his reference from General Hospital to Medical College though he sustained minimal injuries, the charge sheet stresses.

Array of charges

Sriram has been booked under sections 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of an offence or giving false information) of the Indian Penal Code. He has also been charged under sections 184 (dangerous driving), 185 and 188 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

These charges can earn him a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

One behind the wheel

After examining the CCTV footage of the road from Vellayamabalam to Museum, the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) has stated that the car was driven at a speed of 100 km per hour at the time of the accident.

The neurology head at the medical college has testified that the injuries sustained by Sriram were similar to the ones sustained by the driver of a speeding car which it meets with an accident.

The forensic department of the medical college has also testified that he drove the car at the time of the accident. It came to this conclusion after examining the site of the accident and hospital records of Sriram.

Several eye-witnesses have testified that Sriram was drunk at the time of the accident. The General Hospital doctor's statement that Sriram reeked of alcohol has also been recorded.

Wafa's role

The 66-page charge sheet names Sriram as the first accused and his friend Wafa, the second. Details from over a hundred witnesses have been recorded and 84 material evidences have been cited.

Wafa has been named an accused in the case for permitting Sriram to drive the car despite being in an inebriated state.

The car, said to be driven by Sriram, had rammed a bike at midnight in the Kerala capital. Journalist KM Basheer who was riding the bike had died in the accident that occurred around 12.55 am on August 3. After the collision, the speeding car dragged Basheer for 24.5 meters before finally crashing into a wall.

The IAS officer, who was then holding the post of the Director of Survey and Land Records, has been under suspension since August 4. In his explanation to the Chief Secretary, Sriram had stated that Wafa was at the wheel as the accident happened and alcohol was not found in his blood during subsequent test. In his seven-page letter, Sriram had rejected the allegations, especially of drunk-driving, against him.