Vikash Sharma

Even as mystery prevails over the motive behind the murder of Odisha Health Minister Naba Kishore Das, the emergence of new pictures and videos of accused Gopal Das just ahead of the Assembly Session has raised eyebrows in the state.

From the photographs, the dismissed Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Gopal can be seen standing right in front of health minister Naba Das. However, the photograph which went viral on Monday doesn’t clearly indicate whether Gopal was carrying a gun in his hand or not.

On Tuesday, a new video surfaced and the accused Gopal can be seen confidently walking towards minister Naba Das along with other BJD workers. Though a pistol can be seen tied around Gopal’s waist, but there is no clarity on how he fired at the minister. Only the investigating agency can unravel the mystery behind the viral footage.

Emergence of such photograph and video prior to the Odisha Assembly session has raised several questions. What is the exact motive behind release of such photo and video and on whose instructions such things are being made viral? The Opposition parties including the BJP and the Congress have termed it as a ‘sponsored’ act.

Opposition Chief Whip, Mohan Majhi said, “In a pre-planned manner the photo and video were released. It clearly shows that there has been a conspiracy in the murder of Naba Das and the state government is involved in it.”

Senior Congress leader Jayadev Jena also questioned the timing of the photo and video. “It is really suspicious the way the picture went viral a day before the Assembly session,” said Jena.

Responding to the allegations, Revenue Minister, Pramilla Mallick said, “The way Opposition members are trying to politicize the ongoing investigation in the case is not justified. Rather they should cooperate in the Crime Branch investigation which is on the right track.”

The Crime Branch investigation seems to be pin-pointed on Gopal Das, who is said to be the sole accused. The entire investigation seems focused on Gopal’s mental condition. Earlier on Monday, the JMFC Court of Jharsuguda rejected a plea of the Crime Branch to examine the mental health of accused Gopal at NIMHANS, Bengaluru.

The CB had prayed for further comprehensive mental evaluation of the accused at NIMHANS, Bengaluru. However, the court rejected the prayer. The court ordered psychiatric evaluation of Gopal Das at Choudwar Circle Jail.

A medical board had earlier evaluated Gopal’s mental condition. But what is the crime branch trying to do by repeatedly seeking mental and medical evaluation of Gopal? Will the crime branch be able to bring out the truth if Gopal is found to be mentally fit and whether he will go scot free if found mentally unstable?

Advocate Manas Chand said, “If the report suggests that Gopal is mentally unstable, he will get a clean chit as he will not face trial in court of law. If Gopal might have killed the minister under anybody’s instructions, then the person will not come into picture.”

Dr. Samrat Kar said, “Did Gopal have some mental disorder for which he killed the minister or there was some anger? Now only provisional diagnosis can be done whether he is suffering from the mental disorder or not.”

(OdishaTV Bureau)