Odisha minister Naba Das’ cook’s death: BJP, BJD face-off despite section 144 [Watch]

Jharsuguda: BJP and BJD members faced-off with each other in Jharsuguda town today over ‘mysterious’ death of Health Minister Naba Kishore Das despite section 144 clamped as part of precautionary actions by the local administration.

The district police administration had enforced section 144 order from Jharsuguda Police Station, Jhanda Chhak to Dharmasala Chhak prohibiting gatherings and protests in the morning. However, the BJD and BJP stormed Jhanda Chhak raising slogans.

The precautionary measure was taken after BJD and BJP announced separate protests for today.

According to reports, district BJP had warned to gherao Jharsuguda Police Station today over ‘suicide’ of Lalit Sahu, who was working as the cook at residence of Health Minister Naba Das. In a countereffort, the BJD had announced to stage demonstration demanding fair probe on basis of complaint made by the deceased youth’s father against BJP leaders.

In view of law and order situations, the district administration issued prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for the above mentioned venue.

Despite prohibitory orders, both the political parties hit the streets at Jhanda Chhak and faced-off with each other. Police detained several protestors from both the parties.


Lalit Kumar Sahu, 22, a resident of Bilimi village in Dhenkanal district, was found hanging with a towel in staff quarters of Health Minister Naba Das’ residence on April 17 evening. The body was seized by the Jharsuguda Town Police and post-mortem was conducted the same evening before it was handed over to the family.

Smelling a big conspiracy behind ‘mysterious’ death of the cook, opposition BJP sought investigation into role of the minister and the local administration. The party alleged that the death was possibly a murder.

In two separate press conferences, BJP State Secretary Tankadhar Tripathy and leader Anjali Behera raised suspicion over the manner the post-mortem was carried out in the evening.

“As per government guidelines, the post-mortem cannot be conducted after 5 pm unless there is emergency situation. What was the situation that the post-mortem was carried out in the evening and body was handed over to deceased person’s family same evening and cremated at night,” Tripathy asked.

He demanded a high-level probe into why post-mortem guidelines were not followed in cook’s death case.

With BJP targeting Naba Das in the case, BJD came forward in his defence stating the death as an ‘unfortunate’ incident.

“The investigation is underway as per law and the Opposition should wait till the probe is over,” said Jharsuguda Town BJD president Sandeep Awasthy.

Meanwhile, Jharsuguda police has recovered the mobile phone of Lalit Sahu and sent it for forensic investigation. The call records of the deceased revealed that he had approached his friends for financial help.

Police sources said that transaction of more than Rs 6 lakh was found to be made from his account in the month of April. He had also borrowed some money from his brother and father multiple times during the period.

It is also suspected that Lalit could be betting on IPL matches lately and his suicide might have been an outcome of huge financial losses.

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