Kerala HC slams police in IAS officer accident case
Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 7 (IANS) The Kerala High Court on Wednesday criticised the way the police went about their job in collecting evidence against IAS officer Sreeram Venkitaraman who secured bail in a road accident case that caused the death of a journalist, even as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the guilty will not be allowed to go scot-free.
On Tuesday the IAS officer got bail from a lower court in the state capital and on Wednesday the Kerala government moved an urgent petition seeking to cancel the bail.
The High Court went to the extent of asking the prosecution if they expected the accused to come up with evidence against himself.
"Is this the way the police goes about collecting evidences in a road accident case? There is no excuse for this lapse when the required procedures were not followed," said the court.
The court however refused to stay the bail granted by the lower court and posted the case for further hearing on Friday.
Reacting to the day's developments, Vijayan said after the weekly Cabinet meeting in the state capital that none who are found guilty will be spared in the investigation.
"A special police team has already been appointed to look into all aspects of the case and it includes on how the mandatory procedures in such a case were not followed," said Vijayan.
"The society at large knows that Venkitaraman drove the vehicle in a rash manner and was under the influence of alcohol. The only person who says that he was not under the influence of alcohol is him. The local sub-inspector of police who erred in his duty in collecting evidence has been suspended. None need to be worried in this case, as all those who have erred will be brought before the law," said Vijayan.
Even though, two witnesses have said the IAS officer was seen under the influence of alcohol, the police team failed to take the blood samples on time, giving Venkitaraman enough space to wriggle out. The blood sample was taken nine hours later and the report came up negative for alcohol.
Venkitaraman is lodged at the intensive care unit of the state-run medical college hospital here.
On Tuesday, Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose ordered Venkitaraman's suspension. According to rules, if an officer is arrested he has to be suspended from the service within 48 hours.
Returning from a late-night party, an allegedly drunk Venkitaraman knocked down and killed K.M. Basheer, a journalist with a Malayalam daily, with his car on August 3. Venkitaraman was accompanied by a woman friend Waha Firoz to whom the car belonged.
As the police came to know that he was an IAS officer, they delayed even the mandatory medical tests in case of a road accident.
Meanwhile, state Congress president Mulappally Ramachandran alleged that all that has happened till now is a script that has been prepared by the office of Vijayan, the CPI-M and the state police which helped the accused to get bail.
"The court will only go by evidences and in this case, everything has been destroyed and all that Vijayan is doing now is an eyewash. The best Vijayan can do is to see that he gives up the Home portfolio," said Ramachandran.