Vikash Sharma

The mystery behind the brutal murder of Odisha Health Minister Naba Das seems to be deepening with each passing day. Everybody in the state seems to be in dark even though 20 days have passed since the ghastly murder allegedly committed by Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), Gopal Das.

The ASI, who has been dismissed from the service, is now cooling heels in Choudwar jail.

The Crime Branch, which is investigating the high-profile case, has already switched to the latest investigation tools and conducted a Forensic Psychological Assessment and Layered Voice Analysis (LVA) Test and the Narco test on accused Gopal Das.

However, what has come as a major concern at this crucial juncture is the silence maintained by senior Crime Branch officials including Arun Bothra.

What is the truth behind Naba Das murder amidst the ongoing investigation that only seems to be centered on the principal accused Gopal Das? How much truth the accused revealed in the narco test?

These are said to be the pertinent questions in the minds of the family members of the late minister as well as 4.5 crore people in the state.

Accused Gopal was taken to the Directorate of Forensic Sciences (DFS) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat for narco analysis.

The accused was administered several drugs like sodium pentothal and was subjected to the narco analysis for nearly seven hours. 

Under the circumstances, how far has the accused revealed the motive and other aspects when he was subconscious? Is there a possibility that he can alter his statements?

Anaesthesiologist Dr Prerna Biswal said, “It is a manipulative thing as chances are there a person might utter complete truth or lies for which there is no medico-legal value of the test. But still, in 60 to 70 percent cases it has been found that the subjects speak the truth,”

It may be recalled that the day Gopal Das was arrested after he allegedly fired on the minister Naba Das, it was said that he was mentally unstable as he was suffering from bipolar disorder.

A special medical board consisting of psychiatry doctors had conducted a detailed study of the mental health of the accused. But the findings of the report are not known yet.

Senior advocate, Pitambar Acharya said that under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 84 and 90, the narco and polygraph tests of any person with an unstable mind cannot be considered evidence. Despite this, how the investigating agency recorded the statements of the accused, questioned Acharya.

“If he is really mentally unstable, how they produced him before the magistrate.  As per IPC sections 84 and 90, statements, evidence, or consent is not acceptable in the case of a mentally unsound person. The investigating agency is simply just moving and concentrating around Gopal Das and there is a conspiracy to release him," said Acharya.

Recently, senior leader Bijoy Mohapatra termed the killing as an ‘arranged murder’ which has made the case murkier.

On the other hand, the late minister’s family has given a very cautious statement to the media. Recently, Naba Das’ daughter Dipali had said, “The family is waiting for the final report of the crime branch and only after that they can comment on it.”