UK couple abducted from TN airport rescued,8 held

A UK couple of Sri Lankan origin,abducted from Chennai airport on May 29,were rescued by the Chennai city police on June 1

Written by Gopu Mohan | Chennai | Published: June 4, 2013 4:47 am

A UK couple of Sri Lankan origin,abducted from Chennai airport on May 29,were rescued by the Chennai city police on June 1. The police worked in close coordination with the London Metropolitan Police and Serious Organised Crime Agency,UK,to nab eight kidnappers,including a headmistress of a school.

The victims,Ganapathy Pillai Thavaraja (59),a businessman who runs a supermarket and fuel station in London,and his wife Salaja (55),had gone to Colombo to attend a marriage. From there they arrived at Chennai on May 29 by a Sri Lankan Airways flight at 9.30 pm. However,as there was no word from the couple since their arrival in Chennai,their daughter,Dharshini,a doctor in the UK,contacted their relatives here.

They,in turn,asked a friend to lodge a police complaint.

Soon Dharshini received a call from a person who demanded 300,000 pound (around Rs 2.5 crore) in return for her parents. She agreed but sought time to arrange the money and passed the information to the officials.

The police formed eight special teams. The fact that they were kidnapped from the airport made it clear to the police that the abductors had prior information about the couple’s itinerary. While Dharshini continued to get calls for ransom,the police teams fanned out across Trichy,Villupuram,Cuddalore,Puducherry and Chengalpattu based on source information.

On Saturday night,a team,led by DCP Xavier Dhanaraj,intercepted a vehicle at Mandarakuppan near Neyveli in which the abductors were taking the couple.

They were rescued and eight accused,including Indira Antony,a school headmistress,were arrested. Indira has been suspended from the school.

On questioning,the police found that the plan was hatched in London by two people,including an employee of his supermarket,Ajanthan. He and Ramesh of Trichy,who now works in London,had planned the kidnap,the police said. Ramesh passed on the couple’s photograph and tour plan to his friend,C Dharmalingam,in Trichy. When the couple landed in Chennai,the kidnappers carried a placard with Thavaraja’s name to easily identify them and took them in a vehicle. The police passed on the information on Ajanthan and Ramesh to the London Metropolitan Police who have detained them.

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