Kerala HC stays lower court order in case against IAS officer, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

The high court on Friday stayed a sessions court’s order dismissing culpable homicide charges against IAS officer and doctor Sriram Venkitaraman in the case over death of journalist KM Basheer in an alleged drunk-driving incident. Justice Ziyad Rahman AA stayed the order after considering during admission hearing an appeal filed by the state government. The court also ordered for issuing notice to the IAS officer.

The deceased journalist’s family had alleged in an HC plea seeking a CBI probe that he was mowed down by the IAS officer at Thiruvananthapuram in 2019. This was after the officer’s efforts to retrieve a pen drive with the journalist containing visuals of his illegitimate relationship with a woman failed.

But the sessions court had dropped the charges of culpable homicide, under Section 304 IPC, and causing disappearance of evidence (Section 201) against the IAS officer. The court had, however, held that the charges of causing death by negligence (304A) and rash and negligent driving (279) would stand. While culpable homicide is punishable with life imprisonment, causing death by negligence is punishable with imprisonment up to two years or a fine, or both.

While the IAS officer had contended that there was no evidence of him driving in a drunken state, prosecution argues in the HC plea that statements of witnesses reveal that he was in an inebriated state at the time of the incident. Prosecution also points out that he had purposefully delayed giving blood sample so as to destroy evidence and that the lower court failed to consider this.

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