Abu Dhabi/Thiruvananthapuram: An Indian woman from Abu Dhabi was in the dock on Saturday along with an Indian Administrative Service Officer (IAS) following the death of a journalist in a road accident in Kerala.
Kerala police on Saturday evening said they recorded the arrest of IAS officer Sriram Venkataraman and were still interrogating Wafa Firoze who had travelled with him in her car that rammed into the bike of journalist K.M. Basheer, killing him on the spot.
Speaking to Gulf News over phone, additional police commissioner Sanjay Kumar Gurudin said Sriram, who is under treatment after being injured in the accident, will be remanded.
“We have registered cases against him under various sections of Motor Vehicle Act for rash and drunk-driving and section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder, a non-bailable offence).”
He said Firoze, who was being interrogated at the time of going to press, will be booked for knowingly allowing Sriram to drive under the influence of alcohol.
Since the car is registered in the name of Firoze, she would also be booked under the sections of Motor Vehicles Act, which are bailable offences, he said.
The accident took place around 1am (local time) in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram when Sriram, who was reportedly drunk, was returning after a party to celebrate resuming his service after completing his higher studies.
Apparently, Sriram had called Firoze to drop him home after the party and he got behind the wheel midway.
Basheer, 35, the Thiruvananthapuram bureau chief of Malayalam daily Siraj, was on his way home after attending an official meeting.
According to earlier reports, Sriram denied being behind the wheel at the time of the accident and claimed that it was Firoze who was driving. However, Firoze later denied this.
Another police officer, who did not wish to be named, said Firoze holds residence visas of the UAE — where her husband lives — and also of Saudi Arabia, where her parents and brother live. “Sriram is a friend of her husband who is running a transporting company in Abu Dhabi. They are family friends and had met many times in the Gulf and Kerala,” the official said.
Earlier, two witnesses — both of them autorickshaw drivers — also stated that it was a male who was driving at the time of the accident.
Sriram had hogged the limelight for his strong stand in evicting land encroachers in Idukki district last year. He had recently been appointed as Survey and Land Records director.
Bashir leaves behind his wife Jaseela and two young children, Janna and Azmi.
Following demands from the local journalists, Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured a flawless investigation in the case.
Malayalam journalists in Dubai also held a condolence meeting and urged the government to ensure justice at the earliest.