New Delhi: An end to the 10-day Chhattisgarh hostage crisis involving Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon is in sight with Maoists' mediators announcing on Monday night that the IAS officer will be released within 48 hours.
Menon could be home by Wednesday, after a breakthrough in talks between the government and the Naxals. The Maoist-appointed mediators made the announcement after the fourth round of talks since the 32-year-old collector was abducted.
"I hope Alex Paul Menon will be released within 48 hours," Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said after the two-page agreement was initialled by the mediators in the presence of Principal Secretary (Home) NK Aswal.
Menon may now be released on or before May 2. Sources say that as per the agreement, no jailed Naxal cadres will be released but the government will constitute a high-powered committee to review cases of some prisoners in jail including the cases demanded by the Naxals.
The Committee, which will have Chief Secretary and state DGP as members, shall become operational "within an hour" of the release of Menon, according to the agreement.
The agreement, which was quickly approved by a Cabinet sub-committee headed by the Chief Minister, said the matter which is of utmost concern to the mediators is the wellbeing of Menon. Chief Minister Singh said negotiations can continue even after the Collector is released.
With Additional Inputs from PTI