Suspended IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, accused of driving a car in an inebriated condition and fatally knocking down a journalist on August 3 , 2019, has been reinstated as Joint secretary in the health department, by the Kerala government.
Last year, 35-year-old KM Basheer, bureau chief of the Malayali daily Siraj, was returning home on his moterbike at around 12.45 am when the car allegedly driven by Venkitaraman knocked him down in the high security zone area of the state capital where he died on the spot.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, told reporters on Monday, "the state government will not back anyone who had done any wrong even if he was government officer.
News agency PTI quoted official sources as saying that the IAS officer Venkitaraman's suspension had been extended twice. He been appointed as the "joint secretary" with the health department.
The journalist fraternity of Kerala has expressed their protest on the move and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has sought withdrawal of the decision.
"The whole society knows how Venkitaraman tried to wriggle out of the case soon after the accident. Basheer"s death was due to drunken driving of a responsible officer of the state government," KUWJ said.