Soldier Chandu Chavan Who Strayed across LoC 'to be Released' by Pakistan
File image of Indian soldier Chandu Chavan. (Image: CNN-News18/TV Grab)
Mumbai:: Indian soldier Chandu Chavan, who inadvertently crossed the border last year, will be released by Pakistan, Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said on Thursday.
"They (Pakistan) have admitted that Chandu Chavan is alive and that they will soon release him after inquiry, which is nearing completion," Bhamre said, after the launch of second Scorpene class submarine Khanderi at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in south Mumbai.
"We are trying at the level of DGMO (Director General of Military Operations), to secure his release. So far, the DGMO has spoken to his Pakistani counterpart at least 15 to 20 times," the minister said.
"The last time such talks took place was two days ago. They (Pakistan) said that the inquiry is getting over and Chandu Chavan will soon be released," he said.
Sources in Pakistan government, however, said there was no official confirmation on Chavan’s release. “There has been no such development. We haven't even acknowledged Chandu Chavan’s arrest...The report finds no mention in the Pakistani media,” a source said.
However, Pakistan government sources did confirm that Javed, an Indian national who strayed into Pakistani territory in May, 2016 had been released on Thursday.
Chandu Chavan's brother Bhushan Chavan told CNN News18 that he had not received any such information from the government. "But MoS Defence called us up to inform about the recent developments," he said.
"Minister of State told me that they were very close to securing Chandu's release and all the procedures have been completed," Bhushan added further.
“We were always hopeful of his release... But we are not celebrating as yet,” he said.
Incidentally, Chandu Chavan hails from Dhule, a constituency Bhamre represents in Lok Sabha.
"I have been in a regular touch with his family," the minister said.
On September 30, 2016, Chavan had inadvertently crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control.
So far, there is no indication of the possible date or the time-frame within which Chavan could be released. Sources in the Indian Foreign Ministry have said that the possible date of the soldiers release is still being worked out.