The Kerala police have finally filed a chargesheet against IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman in a car accident that led to the death of journalist KM Bahseer in Thiruvananthapuram.
While the accident happened on August 3, 2019, the chargesheet has been filed by the police only six months later. The charge sheet contained 66 pages and 100 witnesses and 75 evidences.
The police charge sheet was filed at the Thiruvananthapuram chief judicial first class magistrate court which says he was drunk and was at the wheels at the time of the accident. He was named as first accused and his fellow traveller and friend Wafa Firoz, who owns the car, has been named the second accused.
On the night of the accident, Sriram, who according to several eye-witnesses had emerged from the car in a drunken state, refused to take the breath analyser test. He later got himself admitted to the KIMS private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram from the general hospital where he was taken post the incident. It was only nine hours later that a blood test was conducted on Sriram to check for alcohol levels in his body.
In the absence of a statutory medical record of Sriram's blood alcohol levels during the time of the accident, the investigation team had to rely on statements of witnesses, doctors, first responders and other police officers to prepare a case against the accused.
In Sriram's case, although the charges against him include Section 304 (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder), this will only stick if the prosecution proves that this was a case of drunken driving. Drunken driving or section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act can only be proven if the person driving a vehicle or attempting to drive a vehicle with alcohol in blood exceeding 30mg/100 ml detected by a breathalyser.