Even as protests rage across the state over the appointment of manslaughter Sriram Venkitaraman as Alappuzha collector, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has justified the appointment as a simple bureaucratic procedure.
Speaking to the media here on Tuesday, the CM of Kerala maintained that the appointment of the IAS officer will not affect his trial in the death of journalist KM Basheer.
In the early hours of August 3, 2019, a car allegedly driven by Venkitaraman rammed Basheer’s motorbike near Museum Junction here, resulting in the death of Basheer, who was the bureau chief of the Malayalam daily Siraj.
Venkitaraman was charged under the reckless driving and negligent death sections. The case is pending before the courts. There were allegations raised by Basheer’s family and friends that Venkitaraman was intoxicated at the time.
“Basheer was everyone’s friend and it is natural to feel emotional in this situation. But a person in government service will have to perform certain tasks at different phases and appointment is one of them,” Vijayan said.
“Regarding the case of Basheer, the government has taken an intransigent position. In the future, only stronger measures will be taken. But other things depend on laxity in the discharge of its duties,” he said. -he adds.
On Tuesday, Venkitaraman took over the post of Alappuzha District Collector from Dr Renu Raj, whom he had recently married. Dr. Raj has been appointed collector of Ernakulam.