Naba Das Assassination: Odisha Crime Branch Provides Clarity on Request for FBI Assistance

Bhubaneswar: In response to the confusion surrounding the request for assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the Naba Das murder case, the Odisha Crime Branch (CB) has released a statement clarifying the situation. The CB confirmed that the State government did send a letter to the Union Home Ministry, requesting FBI assistance.

The murder case of Naba Kishore Das involved the accused, Gopal Krishna Das, and his family members claiming that he was taking medication for a mental illness. Consequently, steps were taken to examine his mental health. Although initial examinations found him mentally fit, further evaluations were recommended by medical experts.

Given the significance and sensitivity of the case, it was decided to utilize the best techniques and experts available for the investigation. As part of this process, assistance was sought from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in New Delhi, the State Forensic Laboratory of Gujarat, and SCB Medical College in Cuttack. The CB also approached the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore to request a team of experts to assist in Odisha, but they expressed their inability to do so.

To establish conclusively that the accused had sound mental health, the Crime Branch decided to seek assistance from the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, known for its expertise and advanced equipment in criminal investigations of this nature.

However, it is important to note that, according to the rules, no State Government can directly approach a foreign agency for such assistance. Instead, it must be done through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India.

In the past, various police agencies in the country have sought and received help from the FBI, such as in the 26/11 Mumbai blast case and the Bhanwari Devi murder case investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Therefore, at the request of the CID-CB, the Home Department of the Government of Odisha approached the MHA to seek assistance from the FBI under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the United States. The MLAT provides the mechanism for seeking and rendering mutual assistance in criminal investigations between the two countries.

Addressing the confusion caused by an online Right to Information (RTI) application filed by Laxminarayan Kanungo of Bhubaneswar, the Ministry of Home Affairs responded that no proposal for a Letter Rogatory/Mutual Legal Assistance had been received from the Odisha Government regarding the investigation into the murder of former Health Minister Naba Das.

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