Suspension of IAS officer held for 'killing' scribe extended

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 30 (PTI): The Kerala government on Thursday decided to extend by another 90 days the suspension of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman arrested on charges of driving a car in an intoxicated state and fatally knocking down a journalist here in August last.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan issued the extension order two days before the suspension was to end.

Chief Secretary Tom Jose had reportedly recommended to the government revocation of the suspension while the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) had opposed any such move.

The KUWJ appealed to Vijayan not to revoke the suspension of the officer whose car had killed K M Basheer, a 35-year-old journalist of a Malayalam newspaper.

Since a olice investigation was on in the case, revoking the suspension of the 34-year-old officer now could affect the case, the KUWJ said.

The journalists body, in a letter, had asked the Chief Minister to ensure that the IAS officer gets deserving punishment.

Venkitaraman, appointed Survey Director by the state cabinet in August last, was booked under sections 279 (rash driving on a public way) and 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

His driving licence was cancelled.

On August 3 last year, Sriram was returning from a private party.

He allegedly drove the car in a rash manner hitting Basheer, who was on his motorcycle, killing him on the spot.

Police arrested the IAS officer on August 3, nearly 17 hours after the accident. PTI RRT UD NVG NVG