Mrunal Manmay Dash

It has been exactly one year since the then Odisha Health Minister Naba Das was shot dead at point-blank range. While the accused Gopal Das has been arrested and the Crime Branch has already submitted the charge sheet in the case, the exact reason why the accused killed the Minister still remains a mystery.

Even if many people including politicians alleged a major conspiracy behind the murder, the police ignored all this and never investigated the case from the angle of a conspiracy.

It has also been alleged that the police have failed to obtain any more evidence in the case in the last one year.

“Naba Das was shot dead in broad daylight. A year has passed but the mystery around his death is still unsolved. Many social organisations and political parties demanded CBI investigation in the case, because he was not just a common man. He was a cabinet minister of Odisha. But CM Naveen Patnaik ignored the demands and that is why the actual reason behind his murder remains a mystery till today,” said BJP’s State Secretary Tankadhar Tripathi.

Gopal Das’ lawyer, Naresh Nayak said, “The Crime Branch has already submitted charge sheet in this case following which the trial has also begun. Accused Gopal Das has bi-polar disorder and is taking medicines for that. So I can assert that he is not responsible for killing Naba Das. But the Crime Branch is trying to make Gopal Das the only accused in the case.”

Meanwhile, a mini marathon will be organised in Jharsuguda in memory of the late BJD leader on his first death anniversary today. Apart from that a statue of Das will also be unveiled in Jharsuguda today.

Speaking about Naba Das, his daughter, Dipali Das said, “My father used to say that time does not wait for anybody. One year has passed in the blink of an eye. But the people of Jharsuguda still have their love and respect for my father. We have decided to install a statue of him in Jharsuguda.”

“Naba Das was known for his developmental activities. His influence was on the entire western Odisha. So a statue of him will make people remember him for eternity. We have also arranged a memorial event for him too where people can come and pay their tributes to him,” Dipali said.

On the fateful day of January 29, 2023, ASI Gopal Das was deployed at Gandhi Chowk in Brajarajnagar for traffic management as Health Minister Naba Das was scheduled to attend a programme nearby. At the scheduled time, Naba Das reached the spot in his vehicle. As he was alighting from his car, his supporters rushed to welcome him. Gopal Das too came close to him. Before anyone could understand anything, he opened fire at the Minister.

The minister, who was severely injured in the attack, was immediately rushed to Jharsuguda District Headquarters Hospital and then he was airlifted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar where he succumbed to his injuries.