New Delhi: The Kerala Government’s decision to appoint Sriram Venkitaraman, who is a prime accused in the death of journalist KM Basheer, as District Collector of Alappuzha has not gone down well with the state’s Opposition parties as well as among the journalists and media circles.
Lashing out at the LDF government in the state, Opposition parties like the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League on Sunday condemned the appointment of Venkitaraman as Alappuzha collector and also urged the government to reconsider the decision.
Venkitaraman, who is currently serving as the Joint Secretary in the Department of Health and Family Welfare, is an accused in a case in which the car which was reportedly driven by him rammed into a bike, resulting in the death of 35-year-old Basheer.
According to eyewitnesses, the IAS officer was in an inebriated state and was over-speeding, which led to the accident, during the early hours August 3, 2019. His appointment as District Collector comes even as the trial in the case is still progressing.
Addressing the media, All India Congress Committee General Secretary and former MP from Alappuzha, KC Venugopal said that posting a “tainted” officer like Venkitaraman as District Collector was disappointing. This was also reiterated by Haripad MLA and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala. “Why is such a controversial bureaucrat being foisted on the people of Alappuzha,” asked Chennithala.
AM Shukoor, former MLA as well as a former President of the Alappuzha District Congress Committee said that his party will organise agitations against the appointment of Venkitaraman as the Collector. “We are contemplating an agitation against this posting. The government must not have posted him as a district collector as it would give a wrong message to the general public,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists have also come out strongly in protest against the move by the state government.