Bhubaneswar, Jan 29 (IANS): Odisha Health Minister Naba Kishore Das, who was shot and critically injured when a police officer opened fire at him in the state's Jharsuguda district on Sunday, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital here, officials said.
In a statement, the Apollo Hospital here said the Minister was admitted to the hospital here with gunshot wounds on his left chest. A team of doctors, led by Dr Debashish Nayak, immediately attended to and operated on him.
On operating, it was found that a single bullet had entered and exited the body, injuring the heart and left lung, and causing massive internal bleeding and injury, it said.
"The injuries were repaired, and steps were taken to improve the pumping of the heart. He was given urgent ICU care. But despite best efforts, he could not be revived and succumbed to his injuries," the hospital said.
In a shocking incident, a police officer opened fire at Das in Jharsuguda earlier in the day.
The incident occurred near Gandhi Chhak of Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda as Das was on the way to attend a function. ASI Gopal Das, who was in his uniform, suddenly came near the minister's vehicle and opened fire at him with his service revolver, said Brajarajnagar sub divisional police officer (SDPO) Gupteswar Bhoi.
The ASI was taken into custody, but the reason behind the brutal attack on the senior BJD leader is yet to be ascertained.
The minister fell unconscious at the spot. In such critical condition, he was first admitted to a local hospital. Then, he was airlifted to Bhubaneswar and admitted to the Apollo Hospital.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed deep shock and distress over the Minister's death.
In a statement, he said: "I am shocked and distressed over the very unfortunate demise of Minister Naba Das. The doctors made every possible effort to save his life. But unfortunately, he could not recover."
Stating that Das was an asset for both the government and his party, Patnaik said he has successfully carried out many initiatives in the Health Department to the benefit of the people. As a leader, he was instrumental in strengthening Biju Janata Dal, he added.
Das was a grass root person and was loved and respected by all, cutting across parties and sections of people. His death is a great loss to the State, Patnaik said.
The CM has prayed for peace and tranquility of the departed soul and expressed deep sympathy for the bereaved family members.
Patnaik, who had visited the Apollo Hospital, had directed the Crime Branch to investigate the case.
Senior officers of the Crime Branch have been asked to rush to the spot, he said.
Soon after receiving orders, ADG, Crime Branch, Arun Bothra left for Brajarajnagar along with his team to inquire into the incident, sources said.
Meanwhile, a forensic team visited the spot and started investigations.