Pradeep Pattanayak

With the mystery shrouding the murder of Health Minister Naba Das still being a hard nut to crack for the Odisha Police Crime Branch, different possible links are cropping up every day. 

The latest theory doing the rounds is the involvement of coal mafia of neighbouring states who may have eliminated Naba Das through Gopal Das. 

Why this theory is assuming importance? 

Besides being a Health Minister, Late Naba Das was also involved in coal transportation business. In this business, no one was anywhere near Naba Das. Be it in his home district Jharsuguda, Sundargarh or Sambalpur , Naba Das had such dominance that coal mafia of the neighbouring states couldn’t enter despite all efforts. 
So, many believe that the role of the coal mafia of the neighbouring states can’t be ruled out. 

Moreover, there are some sound precedents as several heads have also rolled in the past over the business of black diamond.

While Bulu Das was murdered in 1999, the then Congress district president Samu Kedia was eliminated in 2003. In the same year, Kanta Das was killed. In 2008, coal trader Swarup Das was murdered. Similarly, Arjun Singh was murdered in 2010 while Amit Dhal and Mantu Ghosh were put to death in 2019. 
Because of these murders which brought notoriety to Brajarajnagar, coal trade is being linked to the murder of Naba Das. 

The Opposition party has demanded that the Crime Branch should also investigate the Coal business links.

“Whether it is political or business rivalry, a fair probe is necessary. If the complaint is against Odisha Police, then the case should be handed over to CBI. Instead of doing that, the Crime Branch is coming up with new stories every day,” said Leader of Opposition, Jayanarayan Mishra.

Congress MLA Tara Bahinipati said "The business rivalry angle should be probed. A sitting High Court judge should investigate the case.”

Refuting these charges ruling-BJD MLA said “All necessary steps have been taken by Odisha government to conduct a fair probe into Naba Das’ murder. The culprit will be arrested soon.”

“The purpose of the investigation is not to rule out any angle or anything which may not been seen right now,” said Odisha DGP Sunil Bansal.