Thiruvananthapuram: A judicial magistrate here on Tuesday awarded bail to suspended IAS officer Sriram Venkitaraman who was booked on charges of killing a journalist. The case was that of an alleged drunk driving accident.

Bail was granted on the grounds that there was no alcohol content in the blood sample of the accused. Venkitaraman, who was the chief of State Survey and Land Records department before his suspension, is accused of ramming his car in an allegedly inebriated state into a journalist’s bike early Sunday morning. The victim, identified as city bureau chief of a Malayalam daily, KM Basheer, was brought dead at the hospital.

Though Venkitaraman was arrested and charged for culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of IPC, he was at a private hospital, recuperating, and currently in the ICU at the Medical College Hospital.

Reports say he was granted bail as it couldn’t be proved that he was drunk at the time of the accident. Questions have been raised over the delay by the police in collecting blood samples of the accused and its handling of the case. However, police had sought for the accused to be remanded in custody as he could influence witnesses.

A female model who was Venkitaraman’s co-passenger that morning has reportedly given a statement to the police that the IAS officer was drunk and driving the car recklessly. The lawyer representing the daily has also sought for a dopamine test of Venkitaraman to find out if he had consumed drugs.