It was a meticulously planned crime involving a gang of nine operating from two cities across continents, but in the end the Chennai police cracked the Rs 2.48-crore ransom bid.
On Saturday, three days after they were abducted, British citizens of Sri Lankan origin Thavaraja, 59, and wife Salaja, 55, were rescued from an SUV headed for Cuddalore, 150 km south of Chennai, and eight of the gang members were held.
Chennai commissioner S George said the speedy rescue was made possible by the coordination between the Chennai police and the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard), London, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), UK, and the British Deputy High Commission, Chennai.
Thavaraja and Salaja, who own a departmental store in London, had gone to Colombo to attend a wedding. When they landed in India on May 29 they were abducted from the Chennai airport by the two men posing as staff of the hotel in which they were to put up.
Meanwhile in London, unable to contact them the couple’s daughter, Darshini, alerted the Chennai police. And when she received a call from the abductors, she sent a voice sample to the police, which ultimately helped unravel the mystery.
Police sent out eight teams to trace the couple. It turned out that Thavaraja had a Sri Lankan employee Ajanthan. Ajanthan’s friend Ramesh was also working in London, but was from Thiruchirapalli. Ajanthan and Ramesh plotted with a third person, Kannan, from the latter’s hometown. Police said Kannan had been promised 30% of the ransom money.