Raipur: In a fresh demand, the Maoists who have abducted Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon on Monday sought release of eight of their jailed associates by May 2 in exchange for freeing the IAS officer.

In a message sent to the local media, the Maoists said that they would release Menon if the government sends eight of the jailed workers along with mediators B D Sharma and Prof Hargopal on May 2 to the Tadmetla village.

If the demand was not met, Menon's fate would be decided by a 'Jan Adalat', they said.

The faxed message, signed by Ganesh Uike, secretary South Regional Committee of CPI (Maoist), also said that the collector is in the custody of People's Liberation Guerilla
Army (PLGA) and is being treated as a "prisoner of war".

The 32-year-old IAS officer was abducted on April 21. (The latest communication also demanded that the government should revoke "false cases" filed against the innocent villagers.

The Maoists also alleged that the government wasn't serious in its talks to secure Menon's release and that it was dilly-dallying in the matter.

Earlier, the Maoists had demanded a release of 17 of their jailed leaders and set the deadline of April 25.

Earlier in the day, the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh had said that there was some progress in the talks with the Maoists and he was hoping for an early resolution with both the sides finding "agreement" on certain points.

Government mediators Nirmala Buch and S K Mishra are holding talks with B D Sharma and Hargopal, who are representing the ultras.