Bhubaneswar: Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda on Friday issued a fresh audio tape giving a 96-hour ultimatum to the Odisha government to release all the seven Naxals he had demanded.
The Maoist leader has reiterated that he will kill Italian hostage Bosusco Paolo if the state government fails to meet the fresh deadline.
The threat from Panda comes even as Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had earlier agreed to fulfil the demands of the Maoists and decided to release 27 prisoners in exchange for the safe release of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA Jhina Hikaka and Bosusco.
Odisha Chief Minsiter Naveen Patnaik had said, "15 Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) members and eight Maoists from Koraput would be released from jail and four Maoists as demanded by Sabyasachi Panda will also be released."
Of the 27 people to be released, 23 are from the Andhra Orissa Border special zonal committee which abducted the MLA, and only four from the Sabyasachi Panda-led group that kidnapped the Italian.
Italian Ambassador to India, Giacomo Sanfelice, had also welcomed the steps taken by the Odisha Chief Minister as he met him in Bhubaneswar to get a first hand briefing of the situation.