THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Despite holding four sittings and recording the statements of all those who have been mentioned in the police report, the departmental inquiry that was initiated against IAS officer Venkitaraman could not prove that he was drunk while driving the car that allegedly rammed the motorcycle of journalist Muhammed Basheer, resulting in his death
The commission has recommended that Sriram be reinstated back in the service.
The departmental inquiry commission headed by principal secretary (industries) Sanjay Garg, which gave a report to the government citing that the charges against Sriram could not be proved, had to reach the conclusion because of the grave error on the part of the police of delaying the medical test on the officer to check presence of alcohol in the blood. According to sources, the chemical examiner’s report that gave a clean chit to Sriram on the consumption of alcohol could not be countered with the arguments of the representative of Siraj Daily, who deposed before the commission, as there was no conclusive evidence to prove otherwise. The only evidence against Sriram before the committee was the doctor’s noting who examined him immediately after the accident, who had noted that there is smell of alcohol.
“Under such circumstances, there is no reason to place an officer under suspension as the case gets reduced to that of an accident while driving,” sources said. The woman who was accompanying Sriram at the time of the incident, Wafa Firoz, did not appear before the committee citing that she is abroad and would not be able to appear before the committee.
As per the rules, the period of suspension of a member of the All India Service on charges other than corruption shall not exceed one year and the inquiry against him should be completed and appropriate order should be issued within one year from the date of suspension failing which the suspension order will automatically stand revoked.
The penalties on the basis of inquiry against an officer includes censuring (which is the minor penalty), cutting down the increments, reducing the rank of the officer to lower time scale and pay, compulsory retirement, removal from the service or retirement from the service. As the charges have not been proven against him, the recommendation is likely to be endorsed by the chief minister and Sriram is likely to be reinstated back in the service soon.
Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that the police special investigation team probing the case is likely to submit the chargesheet on Friday.
Kerala Union Of Working Journalists in a statement requested the CM not to reinstate the accused officer as the probe into the case is still going on.Source: TOI