Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Sriram Venkitaraman was arrested for an accident that resulted in the death of a journalist working with a Malayalam daily on Saturday. Director of the Kerala survey department, Venkataraman, as a sub-collector in Devikulam, had initiated strong action against illegal constructions in Munnar hill station.
The IAS officer had come into the limelight in 2017 after the CPI(M) leadership in Idukki locked horns with him over the latter’s drive against encroachment, Venkataraman was removed as the sub-collector.
Venkitaraman, also a Medical doctor and Fullbright Fellow, had recently returned to the state after completing higher studies abroad. The 33-year-old IAS officer, who was appointed Survey Director by the state cabinet on Thursday, was arrested under Section 279 (Rash driving on a public way) and 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
The police action comes hours after a journalist working with a Malayalam daily was killed when his two-wheeler was hit by a car allegedly driven by a drunken Venkitaraman, on Friday night. The victim was identified as K M Basheer (35), bureau chief of Siraj. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Venkataraman was travelling with a woman at the time of the incident. He was accompanied by model-friend Wafa Firoze, the owner of the luxury car. The officer was reportedly returning after a party in a club in a posh area of the capital city.
(With PTI inputs)