Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda issued another audiotape on Wednesday offering hope for the release of abducted Italian citizen Paolo Basusco.
The rebels who abducted MLA Jhina Hikaka, however, stuck to their guns.
Jagabandhu, spokesperson of Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee, which had abducted Hikaka, sent another letter to the media reiterating their demand for release of 30 Maoists. "If the government resorts to conspiracy, we will decide the fate of Hikaka in a people’s court," he said.
On his part, Panda said, "We had asked for the release of seven people. The government has agreed to facilitate the release of five. We welcome the steps taken."
Though the rebel leader did not specify when they would release Paolo, he said the process would be easier if the government implemented the agreement.
Panda, whose wife Subhashree was acquitted by a fast track court on Wednesday in an encounter case for which she was on trial, made it clear that he had no more issues with the government.
He, however, slammed the state police, saying it worked as "hired goons" killing poor and innocent people in fake encounters in the name of anti-Maoist operations.