Odisha health minister, shot by cop, dies in hospital

BHUBANESWAR: It was a day of shame for the Odisha police as an assistant sub-inspector (ASI), who was reportedly suffering from mental illness, gunned down the state’s health minister and one of the richest MLAs (BJD) Naba Kisore Das at Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district where he had gone to attend an event on Sunday.
Cops are yet to ascertain the motive of the brazen attack on the minister, even as the opposition BJP and Congress demanded chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s resignation over the shocking murder of a cabinet minister, a first in Odisha, indicating the worsening law and order situation in the state.
The minister, who received a bullet in his left chest around 12.15pm, was airlifted from Jharsuguda and admitted to Apollo Hospitals in Bhubaneswar around 3.30pm. However, he succumbed during treatment, police said.
The hospital issued a statement, declaring the health minister’s death around 7.30pm.
“It was found that a single bullet entered and exited the body, injuring the heart and left lung, causing massive internal bleeding and injury. The injuries were repaired, and steps were taken to improve by pumping the heart. He was given urgent ICU care. But despite best efforts, he could not be revived. He succumbed to his injuries,” a statement from the private hospital said.
The deadly attack on Naba Kisore came a few days after he performed a special puja at Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra and donated an expensive gold pitcher, seeking god’s blessings to get rid of curses and bad luck.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, who ordered a high-level inquiry by the state Crime Branch, said Das’s death is a great loss to the state.
“I am shocked and distressed over the very unfortunate demise of cabinet minister Naba Das. The doctors made every possible effort to save his life. But unfortunately, he could not recover. He was an asset for both the government and the party. He has successfully carried many initiatives in the health department. As a leader, he was instrumental in strengthening Biju Janata Dal,” the chief minister said in a written statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over the death of Naba Das.

“Saddened by the unfortunate demise of Minister in Odisha Government, Shri Naba Kishore Das Ji. Condolences to his family in this tragic hour. Om Shanti,” the PM tweeted.
Gopal Das, the assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of Gandhi Chhak police outpost, who shot the minister, has been detained after being overpowered by police personnel. He faces imminent dismissal from service. Das, who was in khaki, shot two rounds at Naba Kisore from a close range when the minister came out of his car and was being greeted by his supporters at a public function. While one bullet hit the minister, another missed him and reportedly injured another man.
Police have not disclosed the ASI’s motive for firing at the minister. The cops are also tight-lipped about whether Das used his service revolver or an illegal firearm to commit the brazen and audacious offence.
Das’s wife Jayanti confirmed that her husband has been suffering from bipolar disorder for the last few months. “He has been under medication for his mental illness. I don’t know what prompted him to open fire at the minister,” Jayanti said.
Earlier, the chief minister Naveen Patnaik had visited the hospital to assess the condition of the injured health minister.

“The minister was shot at from a close range when he came out of his car to inaugurate two new office buildings of chairman and vice-chairman of Brajrajnagar municipality. The attacker wore a khaki uniform,” a police officer said.

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ASI Gopal Das

Watch Odisha health minister Naba Kishore Das passes away after being shot at by a policeman

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