KM Basheer, Sriram Venkitaraman, Wafa Firoz | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: The investigating officers are still tracing the mobile phone used by journalist K M Basheer (35), who died on August 3, 2019 after a speeding car, reportedly driven by high-profile IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, rammed into him at Museum Junction in Thiruvananthapuram. The phone went missing at the spot where the accident took place. It was ringing for days after the incident but police couldn’t recover the phone so far.
“After beginning the investigation, we dialed the number twice and it was ringing. It got switched-off later and continue remaining intact for two years now. We suspect that the phone must have been stolen by someone,” said P Shanavas, Crime Branch SP, who is the head of the investigating team.
Mobile phone being a crucial evidence in the case, the officer ruled out any chance of it affecting the case. “We have collected all available evidences and the charge sheet was submitted in full faith,” added the official.
There were allegations that the mobile phone was willfully removed from the spot as a measure to destroy evidence to sabotage the case. The visit of two police officers at the spot after the incident put the allegation on spotlight.
Initially, the case was probed by Museum police. They couldn’t find any evidence in the case, including CCTV footages. By citing lack of evidence court had granted Sriram bail on August 5, 2019.
However, the new team under Shanavas collected five CCTV footages to pinpoint the accused. And also, recorded the statements of eyewitnesses. The section 304 of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) in the FIR was replaced with IPC 303 for murder. In addition, sections 201 of IPC (causing disappearance of evidence of the offence, giving false information to screen offender, driving dangerously), 185 (driving by drunken person) and 188 (punishment for offences under Motor Vehicle Act) were also added.
“Many of the CCTV cameras were not working. It was a tough task in front of us. Our relentless efforts ended up finding five CCTV footages finally from some shops,” added Shanavas.
The Thiruvananthapuram District Sessions Court will consider the case on August nine. Sriram and Wafa Firos, respectively the first and second accused in the case, have been asked to appear before the court.