Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Thursday announced the names of 27 people, including a Maoist's wife, whose release will facilitate the freeing of an Italian and a legislator being held captive by Maoists.

A Maoist leader telephoned a section of the media saying the deadline, which was to end on Thursday evening, has been extended till the evening of April seven.

READ MORE:Odisha to swap 27 Maoists for hostages

The leader of Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist) (AOBSZC), which abducted Hikaka used the MLA's phone to inform the media about the extension of the deadline, sources said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the 27 names of prisoners to be released in the assembly. The state government would take legal steps for their release.

Patnaik said the decision to facilitate the release was taken on humanitarian grounds and he expected the rebels would reciprocate and release the hostages unharmed at the earliest.

Among them, 15 belonged to the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha, eight Maoists and four from the list furnished by Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist).

"As you can see, the state government has made this gesture on humanitarian grounds. I hope that the Maoists will reciprocate in a similar spirit and release the MLA and the Italian national immediately," Patnaik said.

He said the eight Maoists to be released included six from Odisha and a couple from Andhra Pradesh Murla Neelam Reddy and his wife Setu Pangi.

The four to be released for freeing Italian Paolo Bosusco included Subhashree Das, also known as Mili Panda, the wife of Sabyasachi Panda, secretary of Odisha State Organising Committee of CPI (Maoist).

While the two mediators backed by the abductors of the Italian refused to comment on the announcement saying it was premature, the group holding the legislator announced the extension of deadline to Saturday for fulfilment of all their demands. Earlier they had set a Thursday deadline.

The Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist) was behind Hikaka's abduction while Sabyasachi Panda's outfit was responsble for that of the Italian.

Bosusco had been kidnapped along with another Italian Claudio Colangelo while they were trekking in Kandhamal district on March 14. Colangelo was freed on March 25.

A day earlier, Hikaka was abducted from Koraput district when he was returning home.

(JPN/Agencies)