Chennai: Expressing serious concern over Sukma District Collector Alex Paul Menon abduction, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday in a letter to the Prime Minister asked him to take ‘strong steps’ for the early and safe release of Menon.

“It is very unfortunate that the officer was abducted while he was discharging his official duties. I am sure the Ministry of Home Affairs would have already taken steps to ensure the safe release of the abducted officer at the earliest," she wrote in the letter to Manmohan Singh.

"I would like to stress the fact that the local people, including the family members of the abducted officer, are greatly exercised over the incident, especially since the officer is not keeping well, and they are fervently looking forward to the good news of the early release of the abducted officer. I, therefore, strongly urge that immediate steps be taken by the Government of India towards securing the early and safe release of the abducted officer and thereby bring relief to his family members," she said.

Menon was abducted by Maoists on Saturday. Maoists have set a deadline of April 25 and demanded release of their eight jailed leaders in exchange of abducted Menon. Maoists have also demanded to halt the Operation Green Hunt.