IAS ROAD RAGE … City scribe hit fatally by car driven by Sriram Venkataraman

Sriram Venkataraman
NEWS IAS OFFICER MISHAP JOURNALIST
TVM (Kerala capital): A thirtyfive-year-old journalist was fatally hit by a car in which the director of state Survey department, Sriram Venkataraman IAS, was travelling along with a woman shortly after midnight last. The journalist was KM Bashir of the Siraj newspaper, who was the bureau chief of the daily in the capital. Bashir was riding a bike when the car that came in high speed from behind hit the bike near Museum police station. Bashir was thrown to a distance of 100metres.

KM Bashir… tragic end at young age…
Police said the car was coming from Kavadiar and heading for Palayam. It turned out, on medical examination and otherwise, that the IAS officer had drinks before he got into the vehicle. The official and the car had stench of liquor, police said.

Eyewitnesses said the official drove the car, while the officer’s version to police was that the woman drove the car. The car was at high speed, the eyewitnesses told the cops.

Bashir was rushed to the Medical College Hospital, where he died. The officer has also been admitted to a private hospital for the injury he suffered on his hand while swerving the vehicle. Bashir hails from Tirur in Malappuram and is survived by his wife and two children. The officer is a bachelor.

Bashir was into journalism for the past 13 years. He joined as a reporter for the daily in Tirur and later came to TVM. He is an award-winning journalist and efficient at work. 

The blue car, belonging to Wafa Firoz who was with the officer when the mishap occurred, has been taken into custody. However, police allegedly acted in an irresponsible manner after the mishap, in relation to collection of evidence. There are reports that the woman was subjected to liquor test while she was not subjected to some other tests. The officer refused to undergo blood test to ascertain the liquor content in his body. Police allegedly tried to help the officer out of the situation.

POLICE MISCHIEF AGAIN
Police tried to create an impression that it was not known who drove the car. The eyewitnesses on the spot, including two auto-drivers, gave evidence to police on the spot that the man drove the vehicle and he got out of the car first, after the mishap. It was also clear that the officer was drunk. Police reached the spot immediately after the hit, as the police station was close by. But, efforts were made by cops to “save” senior IAS official, it is learnt. 

The cops also behaved as if they have not checked the CCTV footage of over 40 cameras places all along the road where the accident took place. This was unbelievable. The cameras clearly show who drove the car, and whether it was a man or woman. Still, cops tried to cover up the facts. They also quickly removed the woman from the scene.

The version of the eye-witnesses is less important than what is seen on the CCTV. This could be unassailable evidence in court. 

WHO, SHE? … The woman in the car…

THE WOMAN

Police has collected some information about the woman but is not revealing this to the media. Cops say they are still investigating the links the official had with the woman, and how both ended up in the car after the party and why he drove her car.

Wafa Firoz  reportedly told the cops at the station that the official, her friend, called around 12,30am to pick him up from Kavadiar. She drove the car to Kavadiar, but the official entered and took control of the wheels though he was drunk.

she said her husband worked in the Gulf. The car had reportedly been involved in accidents in the past. It was also caught on CCTV, for over=speeding in the past.

Initially, it seems, she agreed to cops to the line Sriram took; that she drove the vehicle — or so say the cops. 

Even then, she was immediately removed from the scene by the cops. They called an Uber service car to take her home, while they detained her car. It was after a crowd of media personnel who reached the spot created noise that the cops called her back from her home and subjected to a blood test.

The pressure from the media helped to an extent in checking police attempts to suppress evidence or take the case in different directions to mess up with the situation. The police force in the state has been involved in several cover-up operations in recent times, bringing down its reputations. 

SRIRAM VENKATARAMAN

Dr Sriram Venkataraman passed the UPSC civil services examination with second rank in 2012. He is a doctor by education. He was on leave for some time, went abroad on a sabbatical. He had returned to work only a short while ago, and was given charge of the Survey department as also some other departments. 

Earlier, he had served as the Idukki district sub collector in Munnar, took on what looked like principled stands and often faced tongue-lashes from politicians for his refusal to bend to their wishes. He was a darling of the media. 

At the same time, why he acted in rash driving not keeping with the dignity of an IAS official is a big question now. 

Prof Venkataraman and Rajam


Sriram Venkataraman hails from Kerala. He had his schooling in Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir in Kochi. He did MBBS from Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, and MD from SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack, Odisha. His parents, Prof (retd) Venkataraman and wife Rajam resided in Panampalli Nagar in Kochi. Agencies, IHN-NN

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