Odisha minister shot dead by on-duty police officer

Wednesday 01st February 2023 06:01 EST

Odisha health minister Naba Kisore Das was fatally shot by an on-duty police officer who was allegedly taking medication for bipolar disorder just moments after he got out of his car to meet people waiting to welcome him at an official event in Brajarajnagar, in his native Jharsuguda district.

Assistant sub-inspector Gopal Das, 54, fired two shots, one of which punctured the 61-year-old minister and three-time Jharsuguda MLA’s heart and left lung. Another bullet injured a bystander, officials said.

Naba Das was airlifted to Bhubaneswar to undergo surgery at Apollo Hospitals, where he succumbed to his wounds a few hours later. The uniformed assailant, who was quickly subdued after the shooting, was on duty at the Gandhi Chhak police outpost when he allegedly opened fire on the minister. Investigators weren't able to come up with a motivation for the attack on a sitting MLA by an ASI who had a distinguished career prior to it, including being awarded service awards.

Gopal’s wife Jayanti told media that her husband had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was being treated for it over the past few months. She said her husband made a video call to their daughter around 11am, more than an hour before the shooting, but hung up immediately, saying he was busy. “I have no idea what prompted him to fire at the minister,” she stated.

Naba Das was a confidant of CM Naveen Patnaik, who termed the minister’s death “a great loss” and instituted an inquiry by the state crime branch.

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