The fate of Prashant Kumar Layek, the abducted Block Development Officer (BDO) of Dalbhumgarh, hangs in balance as the deadline set by Maoists for the unconditional release of 15 villagers who were arrested in the East Singhbhum District on charges of supporting rebels expires on Wednesday.
Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) Prabhat Kumar Kartik said, "Neither Prasant Kumar Layek has returned nor we have any information as yet about him."
Meanwhile, the Jharkhand police said that it would seek the court''s permission to reinvestigate the cases against the charge-sheeted Maoists if BDO Layek was set free. Jharkhand Zonal Inspector General (IG) Rezi Dung Dung told the media at Ghatsila that unconditional release of charge-sheeted Maoists was not possible as it involved judicial proceedings.
Dung Dung appealed the Maoists to set free BDO Layek. Spokesman of the Maoists'' Bengal-Orissa-Jharkhand Regional Border Committee Rakesh ji has said that they would not guarantee the safety of the abducted BDO if their demands were not met within 6 pm on Wednesday.
Layek''s wife Julie Bharti has threatened to immolate herself and her four-year old daughter in front of Chief Minister Shibu Soren''s residence if her husband was not returned safe, which has put the state government under tremendous pressure.
Bharti, however, confessed that the government was taking all steps possible to rescue her husband. Armed Maoists abducted BDO Prashant Kumar Layek in broad daylight on Saturday as he completed a Grama Sabha in Dalbhumgarh.
According to eyewitnesses, Maoists came in around seven bikes and abducted Layek at gunpoint. Jharkhand Police suspects that Maoists might have taken Layek inside the forest along the West Bengal border.
The Maoists are also demanding the immediate bail of two surrendered Maoist cadres. Chief Minister Shibu Soren has however, said that he is optimistic about the safe return of Layek. This is the second incident in last five months in Jharkhand. In September 2009, the Maoists had kidnapped and beheaded Special Branch Officer, Francis Induwar in Ranchi district.