Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said he had no information “from administrative quarters” on the three policemen held hostage by Maoists for a week being set free.
The statement came after a local TV channel showed a man masquerading as Maoist leader Kishenji visiting the house of abducted policeman Abhay Yadav at Sahebpur Kamal in Begusarai district, 170 km east of Patna, on Sunday morning. The suspected Maoist told Yadav’s wife, Kanti, that all three hostages had been set free.
The footage triggered some hope among officials and the public but this had been lost by afternoon, when there was no news or sighting of the hostages. Instead, rumours spread that the hostages would not be released anytime soon.
"We have no information on the release of hostages,” Munger divisional commissioner Lallan Singh told HT. “It (the report of their imminent release) looks like the handiwork of some people with vested interests.”
But the police, apparently believing the channel footage initially, deployed search parties to locate the hostages.
The Nitish Kumar government has been under intense pressure to secure the release of Abhay Yadav and the two other policemen, Rupesh Kumar Sinha and Ehsan Khan. The police on Friday recovered the body of abducted policeman Lucas Tete, who was killed by the Maoists.
On Saturday, the chief minister offered a safe passage to the Maoists to secure the policemen's release.