Maoist guerrillas have demanded release of their senior leaders, including Kobad Ghandy, as a condition for freeing an abducted Jharkhand intelligence official, local media reports said Sunday.
Samarji, claiming to be secretary of South Chhotanagpur Committee of Jharkhand, called local Hindi newspapers late Saturday and informed them about the condition. The rebel said the Jharkhand intelligence official would be freed if the police release Ghandy, Chhatradhar Mahto and Chandra Bhushan Yadav.
"The abducted police official of the intelligence department is in our custody. He is safe. He will be released after the arrested leaders - Kobad Ghandy, Chhatradhar Mahto and Chandra Bhushan Yadav - are released," the local Hindi newspapers quoted Samarji as saying.
"Do not torture relatives of Kundan Pahan and other people otherwise we will abduct family members of government officials," he added.
Police suspect the role of the Kundan Pahan group - active in the border areas of Ranchi, Khuti and Jamshedpur districts - in the abduction of the Jharkhand intelligence official.
Francis Indwar, the intelligence official, was abducted from Hembrum market under Arki police station of Khuti district, around 65 km from state capital Ranchi, Wednesday. He had gone to the market to collect information about Maoist rebels.
"We are verifying the authenticity of the calls. How can Jharkhand rebels put such conditions when Kobad Ghandy and Mahto are not with us. In the past, a man impersonating as a Maoist rebel had threatened Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Congress president Sonia Gandhi," Jharkhand Police spokesperson S.N. Pradhan told IANS.
The 63-year-old London-educated Kobad Ghandy, a senior leader of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), was arrested in New Delhi September 21, though his party says he was picked up by police four days earlier on September 17. He is in judicial custody till October 6.