No secret deal in Alex Paul Menon Release

Chattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and the Maoists’ mediators on Friday emphatically said there was no secret deal or any quid pro quo between Naxals and the state government behind the release of Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon after he was held hostage for 12 days.

A day after he was set free, the 32-year-old IAS officer returned to his Sukma home, about 450 km from the state capital, this morning to an emotional welcome from his pregnant wife Asha and other family members.

Menon spent the night at CRPF base camp at Chintalnar before reaching Sukma by helicopter and was brought home under tight security. His mother-in-law offered the traditional ‘aarti’ before he stepped into his official residence.

“There is no secret deal or any understanding to facilitate the release of Alex Paul Menon,” Singh told reporters when asked whether there was any understanding between the state government and the rebels to bring to an end the 12-day hostage crisis.

At a press conference in Sukma, the two Maoists’ mediators--B D Sharma and Prof Hargopal–who facilitated the release of Menon denied any secret deal for the freedom of the Collector.

S K Mishra, one of the two Government mediators, also categorically said there was no “secret deal” or any “quid pro quo” between the two sides.

“Everything is in public domain,” he said referring to the agreement reached at between the mediators of the state government and the Maoists that paved the way for the release of the official.

Under the agreement, the government had agreed to set up a high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Nirmala Buch, one of the two Government mediators, to review the cases of all prisoners languishing in Chattisgarh jails including the cases demanded by the Maoists.