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Amid drama, IAS man in accident row now in govt hospital


Thiruvananthapuram: An IAS officer, charged with killing a young journalist in a road accident, was on Sunday shifted from a luxury private hospital here to the district jail but after two hours at its gate, sent to the Medical College hospital's 'prison cell'.

The developments came amid outrage over Kerala Police's handling of the case. 

Returning from a late-night party, IAS officer Sreeram Venkitaraman, who was allegedly drunk, knocked down K.M. Basheer, a journalist with a Malayalam daily, with his car early on Saturday. Venkitraman was accompanied by his woman friend, Waha Firoz, to whom the car belonged.

Venkitaraman was, however, allowed to get admitted to the luxury room at the KIMS hospital on Saturday morning.

With the media pursuing this case and highlighting the police's lapses, including taking delaying taking Venkitaraman's blood sample, police arrested the IAS officer.

He was then brought on a stretcher with his face almost masked to be produced before the local magistrate, who came into the ambulance to have a look at Venkitaraman.

After that, the magistrate went into his house and after some time, directed the police to send him to judicial custody. 

The ambulance then took him to the jail but stayed at its entrance for two hours.

In between, the jail doctor came and examined Venkitaraman and after discussions with the top jail officials, decided to shift him to the prison cell at the state-run Medical College hospital here.

The officer was sent to jail after Kerala Union of Working Journalists' Thiruvananthapuram President Suresh Vellimanagalem told the media that if Venkitaraman is not moved out from KIMS hospital with immediate effect, the journalist fraternity will begin a protest before the hospital.

Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, also demanded that a medical bulletin on the condition of Venkitaraman be released.

"According to the All India Service rules, now that his arrest has been recorded, he should be suspended from service... that has not happened. Also a probe should be initiated to find out how crucial lapses occurred the way the police handled this case after the accident occurred and for this Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should act," the Congress leader said.

State Public Works Department Minister and senior CPI-M leader G. Sudhakaran said that IAS officers should be treated like common people. "If someone is IAS, it does not mean anything.... such people are not God," he said.

State Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran said that when Venkitaraman did good when he was in service, the government appreciated it and now when he has done a wrong, the law will take its course, as everyone is equal before law.

Meanwhile, Venkitaraman will move a court here on Monday for bail.


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