Bhubaneswar: Struggling to end the hostage crisis involving a BJD MLA, Odisha Government on Tuesday  announced it will seriously consider withdrawal of prosecution in "suitable cases" if the Maoists free the legislator by 5 pm on Wednesday.

The announcement came hours after the Maoists' Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) in a message pressed the state government to make its stand clear on the release of jailed rebels sought for in exchange for the freedom of 37-year-old Laxmipur MLA. Jhina Hikaka, who was abducted on March 24.

"If release of the tribal MLA takes place by 5 pm tomorrow, the Government will seriously consider withdrawal of prosecution in suitable cases," Panchayatiraj Secretary P K Jena told reporters.

"The government has already declared that it would facilitate release of 25 persons including 17 members of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS and eight of CPI (Maoist)," said Jena, one of the three state government representatives who negotiated with Maoist mediators in resolving the Italian hostage crisis.

For the sake of clarity the government again released the names of 25 persons to be freed from jails, he said, adding two have already been granted bail.

Meanwhile, in a positive development Hikaka on Tuesday spoke to Chief Secretary B K Patnaik and Koraput district Collector J S Ramachandra and informed them that he was in good health, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in New Delhi. There was also a telephonic conversation between ruling BJD MP from Koraput, Jayaram Pangi and Hikaka.

Having made its stand known, the state government was now waiting for a response from the Maoists, who have been insisting on complete withdrawal of cases against rebels whose release had been demanded as against taking the suggested bail route.

In view of the steps taken by the government and bails already granted to some prisoners, the abductors should release Hikaka immediately, unharmed, Jena said.