The policeman accused of killing Odisha minister Naba Kishore Das is not mentally ill, a court in Jharsuguda district said, quoting a report of the medical board that examined him.
Rejecting a plea of the Crime Branch for the mental evaluation of Gopal Das at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru, the court of the additional district judge made public the observation of the medical board that submitted its report on February 5.
“The person is conscious, alert, cooperative and communicative. He is well groomed with eye-to-eye contact. Rapport is established. Mood and affect — appropriate to the situation,” the medical board said in its report.
“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,” it said.
The court said in its March 3 observation that nowhere in the medical board’s report the accused was found to be suffering from mental illness.
The medical board was constituted by the government with doctor Ajay Mishra, the HoD of Psychiatry at the SCB Medical College and Hospital, as its chairman to examine Das, who allegedly shot dead the minister on January 29.
“…the prayer made by the IO (investigating officer) for further psychological examination of the accused would be redundant. However, for the said examination, accused cannot be shifted to NIMHANS,” the court said.
The medical report was a shot in the arm for the BJP, which has been claiming that the state was falsely trying to prove that the accused was mentally disabled to conceal a larger conspiracy involved in the murder.
“There is a deep-rooted conspiracy behind the murder of Naba Das,” Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra said, alleging that the police do not want to find who gave the contract of killing the minister to the assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of police, and the motive behind it.
The person who gave the contract for killing assured the accused that no action will be taken against him, Mr Mishra claimed.
“Therefore efforts were made to prove him mentally unsound,” he said.
Rejecting the allegation, BJD MLA SB Behera said it was a medical board constituted by the state government that gave the report.
“How was the state government protecting the accused? The state government’s medical board has given the report. It proves the transparency in the investigation,” he said.
Congress legislative party leader Narasingha Mishra claimed there was a personal enmity behind the 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,” Mr Mishra told reporters.
The minister was shot dead at Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district when he went to the area for a programme.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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