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PC, Patnaik get into argument over hostage crisis

Home minister P Chidambaram today rejected Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik's allegation that the central government didn't "display urgency" in helping the state to secure the release of two Italians abducted by Maoists.

delhi Updated: Mar 21, 2012 16:12 IST

Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday rejected Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik claims that the Centre had not offered any help to the state in dealing with the abduction of two Italians by Maoists.

"I don't think the chief minister should be making these statements without any basis," Chidambaram told reporters when asked to comment on Patnaik's reported comments.

The home minister said that Patnaik had not sought any help from the Centre.

"If he has actually said that, I am very disappointed. The chief minister spoke to me on Sunday, I offered him every help. He did not ask me for anything. He said I am just keeping you informed," Chidambaram said.

He said the home secretary had told him on Tuesday and Wednesday that he had spoken to the Odisha chief secretary twice and director general of police once to offer them any kind of help.

"But no specific request for help has been made until I left my office a few minutes ago," Chidambaram said.

Patnaik, in an interview to TV news channel CNN-IBN, had accused the external affairs and home ministries of not helping his government.

"The ministry of external affairs and Union home department are not displaying urgency in the hostage crisis issue. SM Krishna (external affairs minister) did not even attend to my call initially when the Italian tourist abduction took place," he told CNN-IBN.

Paolo Bosusco, a 54-year-old tourist guide, and Claudio Colangelo, a 61-year-old holidaymaker from Rome, were abducted on March 14 in Odisha, in the first case of foreigners being kidnapped by left wing extremists.

The Maoists holding the Italians have issued a list of 13 demands which includes a ban on tourists visiting tribal areas, the end of the government's anti-rebel operations and the release of jailed Maoist leaders.

First Published: Mar 21, 2012 11:29 IST