Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon reaches home

Raipur: Freed by Naxals after 12 days in captivity, Collector Alex Paul Menon today reached his home in Sukma.

Menon reached Sukma this morning from Chintalnar in a helicopter and was accompanied by the two Maoist mediators – B D Sharma and Prof G Hargopal. After landing in Sukma, Menon headed straight to his official residence. Senior officials from Bastar region were also present on the occasion.

The Collector was welcomed at home by his wife Asha Menon and other family members who performed the traditional `aarti` on his homecoming. Thanking everybody for his support, Menon said he was OK.

The Collector is an asthmatic and medicines had been rushed to him last week after his health deteriorated in captivity.

Senior officials of the state told PTI that after being taken to the CRPF base camp at Chintalnar following his release by Maoists on Thursday evening, his health check-up was done.

The 32-year-old 2006-batch IAS officer, abducted on April 21 at Sukma, about 450 km from here, while touring a village, was handed over to the two Maoist mediators at Tadmetla last evening and was then brought by road to the CRPF base camp at Chintalnar, a 30-minute drive by road.

Post his release on Thursday, Menon had thanked Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, the state authorities, the mediators from the Government and the Maoist side, his family and friends, saying but for their cooperation his release would have been delayed.

The agreement that was reached by the two mediators each of the Chhattisgarh government and the Maoists at their fourth round of talks on April 30 paved the way for the release of the IAS officer.

Under the agreement, the government had agreed to set up a high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Nirmala Buch, one of the two Government mediators, to review the cases of all prisoners languishing in Chhattisgarh jails including the cases demanded by the Maoists.

Singh had said the three-member committee, which also included the Chief Secretary and the DGP, will be meeting right away and examine the issue of delay in cases of under-trials lodged in different jails in Chhattisgarh.

On the bail plea filed by jailed woman Naxal Meena Chaudhary, who was among those whose release was demanded by the rebels for freeing Menon, the CM said no assurance has been given other than the agreement reached with Maoists.