Odisha Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das, who was shot at from close range by an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police at Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district, succumbed to bullet injuries on Sunday afternoon at a private hospital here after a seven-hour-long battle for survival.

The Minister Das, who was shot at point blank range and sustained bullet wounds on his chest, was airlifted to Bhubaneswar from Jharsuguda as his health condition deteriorated.

The authorities of Apollo Hospital, where the last-ditch effort was made to save Das from the claws of death, announced the sad demise of the minister

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condemned the attack on his Cabinet colleague and had ordered a Crime Branch probe into the incident. Chief Minister Patnaik had rushed to the hospital well in advance to oversee treatment arrangements as the seriously injured Das was being airlifted from Jharsuguda.

“I am shocked at the unfortunate incident of attack on minister Naba Das. I strongly condemn the attack on him. The Crime Branch has been directed to take up the investigation of the case. Senior officers of the Crime Branch have been asked to go to the spot,” the CM said in a statement.

The incident occurred at around 12.15 pm when minister Das was attending a political programme.

The assailant Gopal Das, ASI posted at Gandhi Chowk police outpost and deployed at the venue for maintenance of law and order, opened fire at the minister unprovoked and all of a sudden.

At least two more persons including a police officer are reported to have been injured due to the cop’s firing.

Exact motive of the crime is yet to be ascertained. The accused had earlier served as the personal security officer of Das. The accused was overpowered at the spot and is now under police custody. He is being interrogated, Sub Divisional Police Officer, Gupteswar Bhoi said while refusing to divulge further details.

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch wing headed by Additional Director General of Police Arun Bothra has rushed to the crime spot to expedite the investigation. A seven-member team of Crime Branch is probing the murder of Das.

Nothing tangible has come out of the preliminary investigation so far. It is yet to be ascertained whether it was a pre-planned cold-blooded murder or was perpetrated by the assailant under mental stress by the assailant.

The assailant Das was mentally unstable and was undergoing bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness that causes unusual and severe mood changes.

Chandrasekhar Tripathy, the psychiatrist who treated the accused in the past, said: “He was under medication under my supervision”. His family members also spoke on the same line.”

Das, three-time MLA from Jharsuguda, won consecutive elections from 2009. He won polls twice on the Congress ticket. Ahead of the 2019 assembly polls, he quit the Congress to join the BJD and won the poll.

Das, who stands next to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in terms of ownership movable and immovable assets in the Council of Ministers, was in possession of three licensed firearms besides a fleet of vehicles valued at Rs 15 crore, according to the statement of movable and immovable assets declared by Das last year.

By editor

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