Thiruvananthapuram: The state government has drawn flak from various corners after it lifted the suspension of IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, the prime accused in the case of journalist KM Basheer’s accidental death. The 2013 batch officer has been reinstated as the joint secretary in the Department of Health and Social Justice.
Sriram was placed under suspension after the drunken driving accident in which KM Basheer died. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan signed in the order to remove his suspension on Sunday.
The suspension was removed after Sriram approached the central tribunal to repeal the suspension.
The IAS lobby which allegedly exerted pressure for the repeal of the suspension, cited the report of the probe officer Sanjay Garg which said that there was no proof to establish Sriram was on the wheels when the accident happened.
The government sources claimed that the officer was reinstated in service after discussions with Kerala Working Journalist Union (KUWJ) and that Chief Minister discussed with the union representatives.
However, the journalist union, which came strongly against the lifting of suspension, refuted the claim. The KUWJ state committee through a statement released on Sunday urged the government to rethink the move.
The people are aware of the moves deployed by Sriram soon after the incident to evade the charges. The moves of high level officers to save Sriram from the case had hit the headlines. The officer was charged in the case only because of the strong intervention of the journalists' union.
The officer is reinstated in service at a stage when the trial of the case is set to begin. The reinstatement of the officer will hamper the future of the case, KUWJ state president KP Reji and secretary ES Subash said in the statement.