Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

It is nearly four months since the death of Odisha Cabinet Minister Naba Das, but State Crime Branch is yet to trace the motive behind the murder and submit the charge sheet. 

The delay has forced the Jharsuguda residents to sniff conspiracy behind the probe. According to them, it could be a conspiracy to help the murderer go scot free. 

As per reports, former Odisha Health Minister, Naba Kishore Das was shot dead by an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Gopal Das in broad daylight in Brajrajnagar on January 29, 2023. While the accused has confessed to having committed the crime, the state Crime Branch, which is currently investigating the case, is yet to determine the motive behind the murder after nearly four months.

Resentment is brewing among the people of Jharsuguda over the reportedly tardy progress of the probe. Even questions have been raised over the investigation procedure of the Crime Branch. People are doubtful that there is a bigger conspiracy behind Naba’s murder with the involvement of some bigwigs who have used Gopal as a mere pawn.

Though Naba’s daughter Dipali Das has become the MLA of Jharsuguda by winning the bypoll, her mysterious silence about her father’s murder has thickened the plot.

“When the murderer was caught on the spot then there is nothing left in the case. The charge sheet should have been filed immediately. Some big personalities are involved in the murder and they are trying to suppress the probe. If the probe continues like this, it will be a big shock to people,” said Naresh Nayak, a denizen of Jharsuguda.

“Naba’s daughter Dipali won the bypoll and became the MLA of Jharsuguda. However, she doesn’t seem perturbed about the probe. We request the Crime Branch to trace the motive behind the murder immediately,” said Ratnakar Pradhan, another denizen of Jharsuguda.

Moreover, many lawyers in the constituency are of the opinion that the investigating agency is killing time intentionally.

“The way the probe of the case is going on, so many doubts are creeping in. If the charge sheet will not be submitted within 120 days, the accused will get bail from the court. It seems the investigation is going on to help Gopal,” said a lawyer.

As per the provision in law, the investigating agency should submit the charge sheet against the accused within 120 days of the crime. Otherwise, the accused will get bail under Section 167 (2) of CrPC and there is a great chance that he will go scot free.

Now, the question mark is why the Crime Branch is stretching the probe. The accused has been arrested from the spot and he has been quizzed for 13 days in three phases of remand. Moreover, his Narco test has already been conducted in Gujarat. 

According to former police DG Bipin Bihari Mishra, "If the Crime Branch fails to submit the charge sheet, then they will have to take the permission of court to increase the time period."

“In this case, I am sure that the court will allow increasing the time period for submitting the charge sheet,” said Mishra.

However, according to senior lawyer Sourachandra Mohapatra, so much of time should not be taken for this kind of case.

“One reason behind the delay in submitting the charge sheet could be helping the accused get bail. Then he could influence the witnesses to go scot free,” said Mohapatra.

No comments from Crime Branch and Dipali Das could be obtained in this regard.

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  • PRAVAT BISOI , ATULYA BOUT , Bhagirathi Sahu