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SC seeks Centre, state response on PIL

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today sought response from the Centre and the Odisha government on a petition seeking to restrain the release of jailed Maoists in exchange for captive BJD MLA Jina Hikaka.

A bench of justices involving T S Thakur and Gyan Sudha Misra asked the respondents to file a reply within two weeks. The apex court initially expressed disinclination to issue any notices, but relented after counsel for Major General (retd) Gangurdep Bakshi persisted with the plea.

The petitioner submitted that already five Maoists had been released by the state government yesterday, to facilitate the release of the abducted MLA. Responding to questions, the counsel said that the bail applications for the release of the Maoists was moved on their behalf by their supporters and the state government chose not to oppose it.

He submitted that the entire exercise was part of a collusion between the government and the Maoists. At this stage the court remarked, "if that is so the scope of our interference is very limited. But you can go to the magistrate`s court and challenge it."

However, the counsel persisted with the argument that at least notices be issued to the state and the Centre on the issue, following which the bench relented.

Solicitor General Rohinton F Nariman who was present in the court submitted that the petitioner`s plea for formulation of a law to tackle the insurgency by the Maoists was a larger issue and hence not relevant to the present crisis.

However, the bench said since the Centre was a relevant party, it would like to issue notices to both the Central Government and Odisha. Hikaka was kidnapped on March 24 from Koraput district while returning home from a political meeting.

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