Sriram Venkitaraman removed as Alappuzha District Collector

Sriram Venkitaraman. File Photo: Manorama

Alappuzha: IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman, who was appointed as Alappuzha District Collector last week, was on Monday removed from the post and appointed as General Manager of Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd.

The development comes amid protests from various quarters. Sriram is an accused in a drunk-driving accident that caused the death of journalist KM Basheer in 2019.

Basheer was run over by a car allegedly driven by Sriram at high speed in an inebriated state, near Museum Junction in Thiruvananthapuram.

The accident and the botched probe that followed had resulted in a huge controversy. He was placed under suspension by the State government then.

However, Sriram was reinstated into service by the government in March 2020 and made the Joint Secretary in the Department of Health and Social Justice, much to the chagrin of the public.

He was granted bail in the case by the First Class Magistrate Court in October 2020.

Opposition Congress has slammed the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front government's decision to appoint Sriram to the crucial post even as the case against him is pending before a court.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier justified the decision, saying the appointment was part of his service as an IAS officer.

During various stages of his service, he had to be assigned different responsibilities and this was one of them, Vijayan said.

He had also said there was no lapse on the part of the government in taking forward the case against the IAS officer.

Now, the BJP has criticised the removal of Sriram as Alappuzha district collector, accusing the CPM-led Left government of "succumbing to the pressure of organised forces".

BJP state president K Surendran alleged that the government kneeled down before organised forces and it sent out a wrong message.

Meanwhile, Kerala Muslim Jamaat welcomed the state government's decision.

Sriram took charge from his wife and fellow IAS officer Dr Renu Raj after the latter was appointed as Ernakulam district collector.

Even after taking the post, Sriram had abstained from several key meetings in Alappuzha, especially the one deciding the matters of the district's famous Nehru Boat Race.

VR Krishna Teja IAS is the new collector of the coastal district.

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