Black Day for Odisha: Minister Naba Das Shot Dead

Bhubaneswar: Health Minister of Odisha Naba Kishore Das breathed his last while undergoing treatment for bullet injuries, which he sustained at Jharsuguda district’s Brajarajnagar while proceeding to attend an event, at a private hospital in Odisha capital on Sunday.

“The injuries were repaired, and steps were taken to improve the pumping of the heart. He was given urgent ICU care. But despite best of efforts, he could not be revived and succumbed to his injuries,” Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar, said in a press statement.

The minister had collapsed immediately after Assistant Sub-Inspector of police (ASI) Gopal Das fired two rounds targetting him near Gandhi Chhak, as he stepped out of the car and a bullet hit him in the chest.

After initial treatment at the district headquarters hospital in Jharsuguda, Naba Das was airlifted and shifted to Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar. His condition was stated to be very critical. A team of specialists drawn from Apollo Hospital, SCB Medical College and Hospital and Capital Hospital were called in for his treatment.

While ASI, who served as the minister’s personal security officer (PSO) a few years ago, was taken into custody for questioning, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a Crime Branch probe into the incident.

Naba Das had been representing the Jharsuguda Assembly constituency since 2009. He began his political career as a student leader representing the “Grand Old Party” while studying in a college in Sambalpur in the 1980s. As a Congressman, he had defeated BJD candidates twice — in 2009 and 2014 assembly elections. The businessman-politician had an enviable hold on his constituency and was also credited for ensuring Congress victory during the 2017 Zilla Parishad elections.

After being associated with the Congress for close to three decades, he severed ties with the party, which was struggling to stay afloat in the state, in January 2019, months before the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections and decided to contest the polls from the ruling BJD. Following the Conch party’s fifth consecutive win, Das was inducted into Naveen’s cabinet and had since been serving as the health minister.

According to the assets declared by Das in 2022, he owned three firearms, a revolver valued at Rs 55,000, a rifle worth Rs 1,25,000 and a double barrel gun worth Rs 17,500. The highlight of his property statement was that his wife owned 65 vehicles, including a Mercedes Benz whose present value is Rs 1.14 crore, worth Rs 15 crore up to December 31, 2021. Das owned 80 vehicles as per his last property statement. While his immovable property was worth over Rs 2 crore, he had deposits of Rs 45.12 lakh in banks at Sambalpur, Bhubaneswar and Jharsuguda.

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