HM did not object to any steps by Orissa

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday claimed that Union Home Minister P Chidambaram did not object to the steps taken by the state government for the release of two officials from Maoist captivity.

"After abduction of the collector and the junior engineer, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram spoke to me and he certainly did not object to any steps we are taking," Patnaik told reporters amid media reports that Chidambaram had asked the chief minister not to give in to the Maoists` demands.

"After taking all aspects into consideration, we took the appropriate steps for their release," the chief minister said.

Patnaik said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also spoke to him once after the abduction of Malkangiri Collector R Vineel Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Kumar Majhi on February 16.

"The prime minister had expressed concern over the safety of the two officials," Patnaik said.

His reaction came in the wake of reports that the Centre was not in favour of Orissa government striking a deal with Maoists for the release of its two officials, especially ensuring freedom of some top jailed Maoist leaders.

Meanwhile, terming the abduction of the two government officials as "unfortunate", visiting Congress MP Naveen Jindal told reporters that Orissa had its own reasons to take steps for their safe release.