Mumbai, Jan 12: A soldier from Maharashtra, Chandu Babulal Chavan, who had strayed across the Line of Control into Pakistan last year is alive and likely to be released soon by the neighbouring country, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said here on Thursday.
"Pakistan has admitted that Chavan is alive. They will soon set him free after an inquiry that is nearing completion," Bhamre told media persons here after the launch of Indian Navy's second Scorpene submarine, Khanderi.
He said India is making attempts at the levels of Directors-General of Military Operations to secure Chavan's release and the Indian DGMO and Pakistan DGMO have discussed the matter at least 20 times, the last being just two days ago. Bhamre said Pakistan has informed India that the probe against Chavan is getting over soon after which he would be released.
Chavan, 23, hails from Bohivir village in north Maharashtra's Dhule district, which happens to be within the Lok Sabha constituency of Bhamre. Serving the Indian Army's 37th Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu and Kashmir, Chavan had unknowingly crossed into Pakistani territory with a weapon September 30 last year and was capture by their troops near Mankote.
After hearing the news of his capture, his aged grandmother suffered a heart attack and died a few days later. Bhamre said since then, he has been in regular touch with his family who are his constituents.