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Maoists likely to free abducted MLA

Bhubaneswar: Maoists have decided to release Odisha legislator Jhina Hikaka on Thursday after he promised to resign from the assembly if their demands were not fulfilled, a lawyer said on Wednesday.

Nihar Ranjan Patnaik, who is based in Koraput district and fights cases for the rebels, told a TV channel that the Maoists will set Hikaka free by 10am on Thursday. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator has been held hostage for over a month.

The Maoists will hand him over to Patnaik and Kaushalya, the wife of the abducted Biju Janata Dal legislator, in Narayanpatna area of the district, the lawyer said quoting a Maoist leader.





Bofors arms deal: 'No evidence Rajiv Gandhi took bribe'

A former head of Swedish police says there is no evidence that late Indian leader Rajiv Gandhi received a bribe in an arms scandal that contributed to his defeat as PM in elections in 1989.

Sten Lindstrom led the probe and has identified himself as the whistle-blower who recently leaked documents.

Lindstrom said, however, that Gandhi had "done nothing" to prevent a "massive cover-up" in Sweden and India. Swedish arms firm AB Bofors was accused of paying $1.3bn in bribes in 1986. They related to the sale of 400 howitzers to India.

Lindstrom says he is the man who leaked documents relating to the investigation to reporter Chitra Subramaniam-Duella in an interview on the Indian media website The Hoot.

"I knew what I was doing when I leaked to documents to you. I could not count on my government or Bofors or the government of India to get to the bottom of this," he told the interviewer.

Patnaik also said the Maoists took the decision after the legislator gave them in writing that he would resign from the membership of the assembly if the government did not fulfil their demands.





Pak test-fires nuclear missile

Islamabad:  The Pakistani military says it has successfully test-launched an upgraded intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The military said in a statement on Wednesday that the missile was an improved version of the Shaheen 1 with a longer range. The Shaheen 1 is believed to have a range of 750 kilometers (465 miles).

The military did not provide the exact range of the new Shaheen 1A. The launch comes days after Pakistan's neighbour India, announced that it had successfully test-launched a new nuclear-capable, long-range missile. The Agni-V has a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles).






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