The last rites of Odisha Health Minister Naba Kishore Das, who was shot by a policeman on Sunday and succumbed to his injuries, were performed in his home town Jharsuguda, with full state honours, on Monday.
The mortal remains of Das were cremated at Kherual ground in Jharsuguda in the presence of several ministers, MPs, MLAs and thousands of his supporters. Das's son Vishal lit the funeral pyre following Hindu tradition.
When Das's body reached Jharsuguda, a large number of his supporters went to his home to pay last respect to the departed leader. Leaders from western Odisha, cutting across party lines, also paid tribute to him.
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The minister's mortal remains were taken out to the crematorium in a procession of his supporters from his home. During the procession, his supporters raised slogans against Odisha Police and demanded death sentence for the accused.
Earlier in the day, Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik paid their tributes to Das at the latter's official residence in Bhubaneswar.
Meanwhile, the Crime Branch has started investigation into the high-profile murder case. ADG, Crime Branch, Arun Bothra and IGP, Northern Range, Deepak Kumar interrogated ASI Gopal Das, who killed the Minister by firing a bullet from his official pistol.
During its investigation, a Crime Branch team examined the informant and other eyewitnesses in the case. The team visited the spot and seized one empty case and other physical clue material.
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The team also seized a 9 mm pistol and 3 rounds of live ammunition and a mobile handset of the accused ASI. The firearms, arms and ammunition will be sent for ballistic examination and opinion, the Crime Branch said.
Another team of the Crime Branch conducted investigation at Bhubaneswar including inquest followed by autopsy by a team of doctors of Capital Hospital, after arranging sufficient lighting facility. Videography of the entire process has also been done.
The team at Bhubaneswar also seized the treatment records and blood-stained clothes, including other biological exhibits. Viscera has been preserved for further chemical examination and opinion, they said.
The accused ASI is in police custody and will be present before a court for further police remand.
However, the reason behind the assassination is yet to be revealed by the police.
Meanwhile, opposition BJP and Congress strongly condemned the murder of Das and criticised the government for failing to protect its own Minister. While the BJP demanded a CBI probe into the case, Congress demanded a SIT probe under the supervision of the Orissa High Court.