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Homechevron_rightKeralachevron_rightJourno’s death:...

Journo’s death: Factual errors found in SIT report


Sriram Venkitaraman IAS


Thiruvananthapuram: Glaring factual errors have been found in the interim report filed by the Kerala Police's Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the road accident case in which journalist K.M.Basheer was killed after being hit by a car driven by inebriated IAS officer Sreeram Venkitaraman here early this month, said Siraj newspaper management.

"The interim report submitted in the Kerala High Court is shocking and it appears the police failed to learn despite the hammering it received from court last week," said Saifudeen Haji, Director of Siraj newspaper, for which Basheer worked.

The High Court last Tuesday slammed the irresponsible manner in which the Kerala police handled the case, even though it refused to stay the bail granted to Venkitaraman for the second time in a week. He however, remains suspended from his job.

"Late yesterday we got to know about the contents of the SIT's interim report. The report blames the negligence in the initial investigations on the delay in my police statement on the day of the accident. This is absolutely false and baseless. Basheer's body was brought to the Medical College hospital here on August 3 around 1.25 a.m. I reached the police station and gave my statement between 4 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. But the police record states that the FIR was officially registered at the Museum Police Station at 7.27 a.m.," said Haji.

"I am the complainant in the case, but the SIT failed to even take my statement. What's most surprising is that the IAS officer's blood sample was taken only at 5.30 p.m., hours after the accident occurred. His blood report shows negative alcohol content," he said.

Haji and his colleages will be meeting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and senior police officials on Monday to point out the discrepencies in the interim report. "We will give the SIT time to rectify the errors and omissions in its final report. If they still fail, we will have to decide upon our next course of action," he said.

"We place our hope on Chief Minister, who himself announced that the IAS officer was under the influence of alcohol. We will point out to him the glaring omissions made by the SIT and expect that Basheer will get justice," added Haji.

Basheer, the Thiruvananthapuram bureau chief of Siraj newspaper, was killed after being hit by Venkitaraman's speeding car early this month.

The IAS officer was returning from a late-night party with his friend Waha Firoz, who owns the car. He was inebriated and was speaking on the phone at the time of the accident.

It is alleged that the police after coming to know that the accused was an IAS officer, delayed even the mandatory medical tests in case of a road accident.

Haji said the police was yet to recover Basheer's mobile phone, which was last active till about an hour after his death in the accident.

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