The Odisha Police’s FIR regarding the murder of Health Minister Naba Kishore Das states that the accused ASI, Gopal Das, had a “clear intention” to kill the minister.
This was stated by Brajrajnagar Police Station inspector-in charge (IIC) Pradumnya Kumar Swain, who was present at the site when the ASI allegedly opened fire at the 60-year-old minister, leading to his death after some hours during treatment on Sunday.
While no explanation was given in the FIR for the attack by Gopal Das, psychiatrists treating the police officer for nearly a decade said he was suffering from bipolar disorder, a mental disease which causes extreme, at times maniac mood swings.
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“All of a sudden, ASI Gopal Das of Gandhi Chowk Police Outpost, who was deployed for traffic clearance duty for the programme, came close to minister N K Das and opened fire from his service pistol from a very close range aiming at the minister with a clear intention to kill him,” the IIC said in his complaint at Brajrajnagar Police station.
Dr Chandra Sekhar Tripathy, head of psychiatry department, MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur, said Gopal Das had bipolar disorder about 10 years ago.
Tripathy said, “Das had first visited my clinic about eight to ten years ago. He used to get angry very easily and was undergoing treatment for this. I am not sure whether he was taking medicines regularly. If medicines are not taken regularly, the disease reappears. It has been a year since he visited me last.”
Swain, who sustained a bullet injury on his ring finger from the second round allegedly fired by the ASI, said that police officers/ men of different units were mobilized and deployed on January 29, 2023 from 10.30 am onwards to discharge their duties in traffic arrangement, law and order, escort and pilot duty and others for the ministers programme”.
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“At about 12.15 pm the car of minister Naba Kishore Das stopped near the building and he got down of the vehicle after opening the front side passenger door of the vehicle. All of a sudden, ASI Das of Gandhi Chowk Police Outpost, who was deployed for traffic clearance duty for the programme, came close to the minister and opened fire from his service pistol from a very close range aiming at him,” Swain said.
The IIC said that the bullet hit the chest of the minister and he fell down. There was profuse bleeding from the bullet wound on the body of the minister, Swain said, adding that he along with constable KC Pradhan caught hold of the accused ASI.
“During push and pull the ASI fired two more rounds of bullets from his 9 mm pistol. From his second fire, I received injury on my ring finger,” the IIC said.
Apart from minister, the IIC wrote in the FIR that another man namely Jibanlal Nayak Rintu of Kalinagar also received injury. After some struggle Swain and constable Pradhan overpowered accused Das and disarmed him.
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Das, who joined Odisha Police as a constable on July 8, 1992 in Ganjam district, was promoted to the post of Assistant Sub-Inspector ASI on September 9, 2009, has a good track record in the service book. He had won at least 18 medals for conducting proper investigations in different cases in the past, the record said.
Meanwhile, ADG Crime Branch, Arun Bothra, who had interrogated the accused ASI said that Das has “confessed” to the crime of opening fire at the minister.
The opposition BJP and Congress raised several questions and saw a “conspiracy” behind the minister’s killing.
Former Law minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha, who is a lawyer by profession said: “As per my reading, it is a part of the deep rooted conspiracy and needs impartial probe. It is surprising as to why sufficient police personnel were not deployed and ASI Das engaged in traffic clearance came dangerously close to the minister.”
Leader of Opposition Jaynarayan Mishra of BJP said he suspects a conspiracy as the accused ASI was issued the pistol a day before the minister’s visit to his area.
CBI probe needed
“There should a CBI probe to ascertain truth behind the cabinet minister’s murder,” Mishra said.
BJP MP from Kalahandi constituency Basant Panda said he would raise the Odisha minister murder issue in Parliament.
The family members of ASI Gopal Das have shifted from their newly constructed building at industrial estate, Ankuli of Berhampur town to their parental house near Gaunju, on the outskirts of the city.
“We were very much shocked and mentally disturbed by the incident. No one is there (newly constructed house at industrial estate), Ankuli to give consolation to us. We feel secure and safe to shift to the parental house near Gaunju”, said the wife of ASI.
Police said there has been no provision of security for Dass family at home in Ganjam district. “The family did not seek any police protection and we have not made any such arrangement,” said Saravana Vivek M, SP, Berhampur.
(With agency inputs)