Pradeep Pattanayak

At a time when the State units of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress party have been cornering the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) over the murder of Health Minister Naba Das, BJP MLA Subash Panigrahi on Monday added fuel to the fire by alleging that a leader from the coastal area has involvement in the case. 

Linking the health minister murder case to business rivalry, MLA Panigrahi said, “He had set up a huge business empire. He was also a strong leader in western Odisha. Someone might have killed him with the intention to take his place. So political conspiracy can’t be ruled out. Why I am saying this is there are some mines owners who are in politics. And they are infusing mines money in politics.”

Congress leader Santosh Singh Saluja, who has been vituperative against the BJD since the murder took place, on Saturday levelled a fresh allegation by saying Naba’s enemy is in his party. 

 “There is a conspiracy behind his (Naba Das's) murder. There may be a political rivalry angle. There may be coal business angle. Or his enemy may be in his party. This is why we had demanded an SIT probe under the supervision of the High Court. But the State government announced a Crime Branch inquiry. It would yield no result,” observed Saluja. 

Similarly, Odisha PCC president Sarat Pattanayak targeted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the case and said, "The people of the state are still in dark as to why Naba Das was killed. Whether it was political, business or personal enmity? The CM must speak up as he holds the home portfolio or else resign."

In response to the allegations, BJD MLA Byomkesh Ray said, “Crime Branch investigation is underway. The people of Odisha are waiting eagerly to know why Naba Das was murdered and the CB will put an end to it.”

In another development, the Layered Voice Analysis (LVA ) and Forensic Psychological Assessment of prime accused ASI Gopal Das are underway. Director of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Asha Srivastava is conducting the tests. With the tests, the CB is trying to find out the veracity of Gopal Das’ statement. 

At the same time, an expert team from National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS) will examine the mental state of Gopal Das and submit a report to the CB.