Ex-Army officer moves SC against release of Maoists

New Delhi: Hours before the deadline set by Naxals for release of their jailed members in exchange of an abducted Odisha MLA, a retired Army officer today approached the Supreme Court to restrain the state government from meeting Maoists` demands. Major General (retired) 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, a bench of justices T S Thakur and Gyan Sudha Misra, however, pulled up Bakshi for moving the court so late. "You can`t come at the eleventh hour and plead for urgent hearing," the bench said. The apex court further said it would require the help of the Centre`s law officer in the matter and listed the matter for hearing tomorrow.

Former Major General Bakshi further pleaded that the guidelines framed by the apex court during the crisis arising out of abduction of mega star Rajkumar should be followed and the Odisha government should not be allowed to relent for the sake of one person. In the beginning, the bench expressed apprehension in hearing the case, saying "its intervention might aggravate the problem." It eventually agreed to hear it.

BJD MLA Jina Hikaka was kidnapped on March 24 from Koraput district when he was returning home to Laxmipur after a political meeting. The Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist), which was behind Hikaka`s abduction, had demanded the release of 30 prisoners, including hardcore Maoist Chenda Bhusanam alias Ghasi, accused of killing 55 policemen, in lieu of the 37-year-old tribal legislator`s freedom.

Earlier, two Italians, Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo were taken hostage by Naxals on March 14 while trekking in the forests of the Daringbadi area in Kandhamal district. Sixtyone-year-old Italian tourist Colangelo was released as a "goodwill gesture" on March 25, while the Puri-based tour guide, Bosusco, was released on April 12 after 29 days of captivity after five jailed ultras were freed.