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Officer's kidnap: Soren agrees to release Maoists

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 18, 2010 01:26 IST

Accepting a key demand of Maoists for safe release of an abducted Jharkhand block development officer, Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren on Wednesday night said the legal process has begun to free some of the jailed persons who the Naxals claimed to be innocent.

"Maoists have set some conditions to set free Dalbhumgarh BDO Prasant Kumar Layek. Their chief demand is to release innocent villagers now lodged in Dalbhumgarh jail. All the cases are pending in the court. The legal process to release them has already begun," Soren read out from a written statement at a news conference here.

"So, I appeal to them (Maoists) to set free our officer unharmed at the earliest," he said.

Maoists, who kidnapped Layek on Saturday, had earlier in the day demanded a statement from chief minister on their conditions to set the BDO free.

The extremists had on Tuesday said that they would release Layek if the state government give in writing regarding fulfilment of their demands including unconditional release of

Fourteen of their men arrested by the police. The Maoists had alleged that all the 14 men had been implicated in false cases by the police.

In Jamshedpur, the Jharkhand police admitted that two of the 14 chargesheeted Maoists were innocent and falsely implicated.

Earlier, giving time and space to Maoists to release the BDO, Jharkhand government on Wednesday put on hold the ongoing search operation, a senior official said.

"We have not stopped the search operation but put it on hold today to allow enough space to the Maoists for the safe release of Layek," East Singhbhum Deputy Commissioner Ravindra Agarwal said.

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