Contrary to reports of the Rs five crore ransom demand by Bodo militants to ensure his release, senior forest official Vilas Bardekar on Tuesday said the ultras did not seek any money from the Maharashtra government.
"The militants holding AK 47s never demanded money from me and I think nor from Maharashtra government. They thought I was from the media following which they kidnapped me and kept me in their camps," the officer said when asked if there was truth in the reports about his abductors seeking huge ransom for his release.
A visibly relieved Bardekar on Tuesday met Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam after his 83 day ordeal.
"After I was abducted by a group of seven to eight youngsters, aged between 19 to 25, from a forest near Devmara village (Arunachal Pradesh), I was taken deep into the forest.
During these 83 days, they changed about seven locations, sensing the movement of security troops," he told reporters.
Bardekar, a 1984 batch IFS (Indian Forest Service) officer, was abducted on May 12 from a forest in Arunachal's West Kameng district while he was studying butterfly species there.
The officer was released yesterday at Dhekiajuli (Assam).
"Though they told me that I would be safe, I was scared that they would not let me go home and kill me. I was not sure I would be back home alive. In fact, minutes after they released me at Dhekiajuli village in Assam, I thought they would shoot me," he said.