Sukma collector reaches home; CM says no secret deal
Freed by Naxals after 12 days in captivity, Collector Alex Paul Menon on Friday reached his home in Sukma.
Menon spent the night at CRPF base camp at Chintalnar before reaching Sukma by helicopter and was brought home under tight security and was accompanied by the two Maoist mediators -- B D Sharma and Prof G Hargopal.
His mother-in-law offered the traditional 'aarti' before he stepped into his official residence.
After landing in Sukma, Menon headed straight to his official residence. Senior officials from Bastar region were also present on the occasion.
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.
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'No quid pro quo between Naxals and the state government'
Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and the Maoists' mediators Friday emphatically said there was no secret deal or any quid pro quo between Naxals and the state government behind the release of Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon.
"There is no secret deal or any understanding to facilitate the release of Alex Paul Menon," Singh told the media when asked whether there was any understanding between the state government and the rebels to bring to an end the 12-day hostage crisis.
At a press conference in Sukma, the two Maoists' mediators -- B D Sharma and Prof Hargopal -- who facilitated the release of Menon denied any secret deal for the freedom of the collector.
S K Mishra, one of the two government mediators, also categorically said there was no "secret deal" or any "quid pro quo" between the two sides.
"Everything is in public domain," he said referring to the agreement reached at between the mediators of the state government and the Maoists that paved the way for the release of the official.
Image: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh
Cases against jailed Maoists to be reviewed
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.
Chief Minister Singh said the three-member committee, which also included the chief secretary and the DGP, had a meeting Friday night within one hour as agreed as part of the agreement.
He said the committee will examine the issue of delay in cases of under-trials lodged in different jails in Chhattisgarh.
Asked about the bail plea filed by jailed woman Naxal Meena Chaudhary, who was among those whose release was demanded by the rebels for freeing Menon, Singh asserted that no assurance has been given other than the agreement reached with Maoists.
Image: A CRPF trooper patrols at a jungle area in Chhattisgarh
Alex Paul thanks govt, mediators, family
The 32-year-old 2006-batch IAS officer, abducted on April 21 at Sukma, about 450 km from Raipur, while touring a village, was handed over to the two Maoist mediators at Tadmetla on Thursday evening and was then brought by road to the CRPF base camp at Chintalnar, a 30-minute drive by road.
Post his release, 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.
Image: File picture of freed Collector Alex Paul Menon
Video: Courtesy: Facebook