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Key Maoist figure in hostage crisis applies for bail

Aman Sethi

MALKANGIRI: On Saturday afternoon, Sriramulu Srinivasulu, member of the Andhra Orissa Special Zonal Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and inmate of the Malkangiri jail, applied for bail in the Additional District and Sessions Court at Malkangiri. Twenty-four hours prior to his application, the Maoists demanded his freedom as a precondition for the release of Malkangiri Collector R.V. Krishna.

The CPI (Maoist) has laid down a surfeit of demands for the government to secure the release of Mr. Krishna, who was abducted on January 16, but sources in communication with the banned guerrilla party indicate that the release of three jailed individuals would prove crucial in the negotiations.

Lawyers for Mr. Srinivasulu say that their client was first arrested in 2007, charged with and subsequently acquitted in two cases of murder. However, just prior to his release in 2009 he was implicated in four more cases. “There were one case of murder and three cases of attempted murder,” said Mr. Ram Patnaik, “he was acquitted in these cases in 2010, but then another case was filed against him.” According to Mr. Patnaik, Mr. Srinivasulu is now being held on the suspicion that he participated in an attack on the home of one Lucky Biswas in 2007.

The Maoists have also asked for the release of Ganti Prasadam and K. Padma. Ms. Padma is the wife of Maoist leader Ramakrishna and was arrested on November 13 last year and is currently in the Koraput jail. “Padma was arrested on charges that she was trying to meet her son, Prithvi [who is a Maoist cadre] and conspiring to blow up mobile towers and a bridge,” said her lawyer, Nihar Patnaik, who is representing Mr. Prasadam also.

“Ganti Prasadam was arrested a week later on the charges that he was helping Padma meet her son,” Mr. Nihar Patnaik said, adding that his clients had not participated in Maoist activities for several years now and were legally working and living “overground.” It is believed that Mr. Prasadam was affiliated to the CPI(ML) People's War faction before leaving it some years ago.

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