Hostage crisis: Maoist leader shifted to Bhubaneswar
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Last Updated: Monday, February 21, 2011, 23:26
Bhubaneswar: A day before the most sensitive issue relating to Maoist demands on release of some of their leaders in return for freedom for abducted Collector and junior engineer is taken up at the meeting between Orissa government and mediators on Tuesday, a prominent Naxal leader Ganti Prasadam was shifted to the state capital.

Prasadam, who had earlier in the day had expressed desire to participate in the negotiation with the state government, would arrive the state capital by Tuesday morning, official sources said.

"Ganti Prasadam was being shifted from Koraput to Bhubaneswar with the prior permission of the local sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM) on security reason", a senior prison official said.

A close aide of top Maoist leader Ramakrishna, Ganti Prasadam was being brought to the state capital amidst tight security from Koraput, a senior police official said.

After his arrival in Bhubaneswar, the three mediators selected by Maoists, Prof G Hargopal, Prof R S Rao and Dandapani Mohanty, could consult him in the jail at Jharpada.

However, it was unlikely that Prasadam would share the table with the Home secretary UN Behera and Panchayati Raj secretary SN Tripathy.

Under no circumstances, Ganti Prasadam could be brought to the state guest house where the negotiation was in progress for the last two days, a senior official said.

However, there were two options, said a senior official of the Law department. "First, the mediators and others could meet Ganti Prasadam in the jail and hold discussion with him there. The second option was that the government had to declare the state guest house as a temporary jail where Ganti could be brought for discussion", the official said.

Participation of Ganti Prasadam in the negotiations remained one of the major demands of the Maoists who had abducted Malkangiri collector RV Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Majhi on February 16.

Earlier, Ganti Prasadam's lawyer Nihar Ranjan Patnaik said that his client was keen to participate in the discussion.

Prof G Hargopal, one of the three mediators, had earlier suggested to the state government that Ganti Prasadam's release from jail would help in ensuring safe release of the abducted officials.

Prof Hargopal had also said that he was expecting that "some representatives of the Maoist party" would join the talks.

Though Prasadam was more than willing to be part of the negotiations with the state government, his bail petition was rejected by the sub-divisional judicial magistrate's court at Koraput on Sunday. Meanwhile, his lawyer had moved the High Court seeking bail which was likely to be heard on Wednesday.

After realising that Ganti Prasadam's release could be helpful to end the hostage crisis, the state government has decided not to oppose his bail when it comes up for hearing at the higher court, sources said.


First Published: Monday, February 21, 2011, 23:26

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