New Delhi: A retired Army officer on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court to restrain the Orissa government from releasing jailed Maoists in exchange for an abducted BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka.
Major General (retd) Gangurdep Bakshi pleaded with the apex court that the state government should be restrained from releasing the Naxals as they were captured by security forces, which had to put their lives on stake to nab them.
Bakshi, a counter-terrorism operations expert, submitted that his petition be given urgent hearing as the deadline set by the Naxals would come to an end today at 5 pm.
Agreeing to hear his plea tomorrow, a bench of Justices TS Thakur and Gyan Sudha Misra, however, pulled up Bakshi for moving the court so late.
The PIL has been moved a day after the Odisha government offered to withdraw cases against people named by the rebels in exchange for the release of state legislator Hikaka.
The filing of PIL has come at a time when the deadline set by the Maoists for the Odisha government to release 29 jailed cadres to secure the release of Hikaka ends at 5 pm today.
The moving of PIL is also significant as Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has made a fresh appeal to the Maoists to release Hikaka "immediately".
"I appeal to the Maoists who are holding this young MLA to release him safe...Release him immediately in good health and unharmed," Patnaik told reporters here.
He reiterated that the state government has already initiated the process for facilitating the bail for some of the detainees that the Maoists have demanded amongst the people that have announced, he said.
The Chief Minister, who visited his family recently in Koraput, said the family members as well as his government was "very distressed" and anxious about the MLA.
Patnaik's appeal comes even as the state government had yesterday said that if the release of the tribal MLA takes place by 5 PM today, the Government will seriously consider withdrawal of prosecution in suitable cases.
Patnaik said that Hikaka has spoken to Chief Secretary BK Patnaik and Koraput district Collector J S Ramachandra yesterday and informed them that he was in good health.
There was also a telephonic conversation between ruling BJD MP from Koraput, Jayaram Pangi and Hikaka.
With PTI Input
First Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 15:08