The Thiruvananthapuram police are investigating IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman on suspicion of alcohol-impaired reckless driving that resulted in the death of journalist K. M. Basheer in a road accident early on Saturday.
The car, allegedly driven by the young bureaucrat, rammed into Mr. Basheer’s motorbike, killing him instantly in front of the Public Office complex in the city around 1 a.m.
Additional Commissioner of Police K. Sanjay Kumar Gurudin, who is supervising the probe, told The Hindu that the police had “narrowed down the suspect”.
Forensic experts have lifted fingerprints and collected hair and blood samples from the car. They have also sampled the IAS officer’s blood to determine whether the alcohol concentration had exceeded the legal limit.
Doctors at the General Hospital who attended to Mr. Venkitaraman immediately after the accident had written to the police that they noted the “smell of alcohol on his breath”.
However, the doctors did not do a laboratory test to determine the concentration of alcohol in his bloodstream on the premise that they did not have the patient’s consent.
The Museum police have filed an FIR at the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in connection with the incident. However, the court filing does not identify Mr. Venkitaraman by name.
It only says the “person who drove the vehicle” which the police identified by its registration number.
The police said they had booked the unidentified driver for “rash and negligent driving” resulting in death under section 304 (a) and 279 of the Indian Penal Code.
The offence carries a maximum punishment of two years and fine or both.
Investigators said they would book Mr. Venkitaraman for culpable homicide under section 299 of the IPC if evidence emerged that he knew that his alleged alcohol-impaired dangerous driving could cause death to other road users. The provision entails a punishment of imprisonment for life or a term of 10 years and fine.