The Supreme Court on Thursday sought the response of the Centre as well as the Odisha government to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a restraint order against the release of jailed Maoists in exchange for kidnapped BJD MLA Jina Hikaka.
A bench of Justice T S Thakur and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra gave the respondents two weeks’ time for filing their replies.
Though the bench was initially reluctant to hear the matter, it relented after petitioner Major General (retd) Gangurdep Bakshi's counsel persisted with the plea, stating that five Maoists were released on Wednesday. According to the petitioner, bail applications of the five persons were moved by their supporters, and the government chose not to oppose it — thereby facilitating their release. The petitioner claimed that the entire exercise was a result of collusion between the government and the Maoists.
Solicitor general Rohinton F Nariman submitted that the petitioner’s prayer to formulate a law to tackle Naxal insurgency was a larger issue, and not relevant to the present crisis. The bench, however, told Nariman that since the Centre was a relevant party, it would like to issue the notices.
Hikaka was kidnapped from Koraput district on March 24.