Kerala High Court refuses to stay bail of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman in road accident case; CM says won’t allow dilution of probe

The Kerala High Court Wednesday refused to stay a magistrate court order granting bail to Sriram Venkitaraman, the suspended IAS officer accused of killing a journalist in a road accident in Thiruvananthapuram. In a petition, the Kerala government had argued that the IAS officer Venkitaraman was arrested on August 3, hours after the luxury car driven by him in an alleged inebriated condition while returning from a private party. The bureau chief of a local Malayalam daily Siraj, KM Basheer, was on his way home from work on a two-wheeler when he was hit by the IAS officer He was later declared brought dead in the hospital. The court reprimanded the state police in strong language and sought an explanation from them on why they failed to collect the medical evidence from the accused on time. It also noted that the blood sample of the IAS officer was collected nine hours after the accident. The police have reportedly not been able to find traces of alcohol in his blood post the accident. The court asked the police whether Venkitaraman himself would bring evidence of his involvement in the case. The government argued in court that the case was at a preliminary stage and granting bail at this juncture would jeopardize the case. Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government will not allow any attempt to dilute the investigation and the legal process. We will not let anyone to dilute the probe and the legal process in the matter and if anyone attempts, we will take strong action against them, Vijayan said. Vijayan told the reporters that a SIT probe has been ordered to examine the alleged lapses in taking the accused for medical examination and shifting him from the general hospital to a private one. He also said lapses in registering the FIR was also being probed.