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Gopal Not Mentally Ill!

Bhubaneswar: Contrary to the claim by his family and psychiatrist that he suffers from bipolar disorder, the Medical Board constituted by the Odisha Government clearly said that Gopal Das, the lone accused in the slain minister Naba Kishore Das’s assassination case, was not mentally ill as considered by the Police and Investigating Agency.

The opinion of the Medical Board, which submitted its report on 5 February, 2023, however, came to the fore when the Court of Additional District Judge, Jharsuguda on March 3 quoted its (Medical Board) observations while rejecting the plea of the Crime Branch for mental evaluation of the accused at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru.

“The person is conscious, alert, co-operative and communicative. He is well groomed with eye to eye contact. Rapport is established. Mood and affect-appropriate to the situation. Speech is relevant, coherent and goal directed. Thought content-no abnormality, perception-no abnormality, orientation-intact, memory-immediate, recent, remote all intact, judgment- intact, intelligence-average, Abstract thinking-intact, insight present,” the Medical Board said in its finding after checking Gopal Das.

The Court on its 3 March Order said: “The above observation made by the medical board nowhere it is found that the accused is suffering from mental illness. After psychiatric examination of the accused made by medical board duly constituted by the government under the chairmanship of Dr. Ajay Mishra, Prof. and HOD Psychiatry, SCBMCH and Director, MHI Cuttack, the prayer made by the IO for further psychological examination of the accused would be redundant. However, for the said examination, accused cannot be shifted to NIMHANS.”

Opposition BJP, which had been claiming that attempts were made to show Gopal Das as mentally ill, said that now it is exposed on existence of a conspiracy in eliminating Naba Kisore Das.

BJP Stalwart and Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra said his party’s claim that there was an effort to prove Gopal Das mentally ill, has been corroborated. “There is a deep rooted conspiracy behind the murder of Naba Das”, Mishra said claiming that the the police do not want to find out the real conspirator and the motive behind the crime.

Shri Mishra alleged that the person who had given ‘Supari’ (contract) to the former assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of police to eliminate the Health Minister had also assured him that no action will be taken against him for the act. “Therefore efforts were made to prove him mentally unsound,” he said.

Noting that there is a legal provision to relax punishment for mentally unsound people, Mishra claimed that it is now quite clear as to why police has been trying to prove Gopal is mentally unstable. He accused the state government of making all possible efforts to save the accused policeman.

Meanwhile, Congress Legislture Party leader Narasingha Mishra hinted at a possible personal enmity behind Ex-Minister Health Naba Kishore Das murder. “Gopal Das had approached Naba Das for a job for his niece. Something might have transpired during those meetings. Things will become clear if Gopal’s niece is questioned,” Shri Mishra told Media.

The Congress leader also suspected that the family (of Gopal Das) might have hatched a plan to eliminate the minister. “It was also evident from Gopal’s actions and behaviour that they were relived once it was carried out successfully. Why did then Gopal’s elder brother close shop and move back to Berhampur just before the incident?” he questioned.

Gopal Das had allegedly shot the Minister in the chest at Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district on January 29. The Minister succumbed to bullet injuries at a Bhubaneswar hospital hours later the same evening.

Reacting to LoP’s statement, senior BJD Lawmaker Sashi Bhusan Behera said how was the state government protected the accused. The State Government’s Medical Board has given the report. Is not it proves transparency in investigation, he asked.