Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday strongly refuted the claims of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda made by him in an audio tape, arguing that the Maoists had asked for the release of six Naxals, out of which the government was facilitating the release of five.
Patnaik pressed for the immediate release of Italian hostage Paolo Basusco in return for the release of the Naxals.
Panda had upped his demands again on Friday.
In a fresh audio tape, he set a new four-day deadline for the Odisha government to release allegedly seven Naxals that he had named initially.
"We have given 96 hours' ultimatum to the government to release all seven Naxals. We will kill the Italian tourist if our demands are not met," Panda could be heard saying in the tape.