British couple rescued after India kidnapping

A British couple have been rescued in India four days after they were kidnapped, local police have said.

The couple, named only as Thavaraja and wife Salaja, were abducted on 29 May by a group posing as tour operators after arriving at Chennai (Madras) airport .

The couple, who own a shop in London, were eventually found in a village more than 100 miles from Chennai.

The Met Police, who have been working with the Indian authorities, said the couple were safe and well.

A Met Police spokesman said: "The Met Police service has been working with Indian authorities to secure the release of two British nationals kidnapped in Chennai since 29 May.

"The investigation was led by Chennai police with the Met Police Service offering support to the family in London.

"The couple have been rescued and are safe and well. This remains an ongoing investigation in both countries and therefore no further details are available at this time."

The UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency has also been involved in the investigation, providing advice and support to the Indian authorities, a SOCA spokesman said.

Ransom demand

The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi said the couple, who are of Sri Lankan origin, had booked the holiday online as a pilgrimage to Indian religious sites.

"Eight people have now been arrested, including a woman. Police are also verifying to see if three of the alleged kidnappers are Sri Lankan," he said.

The couple’s daughter, who also lives in London, received a ransom demand of £300,000 by telephone and passed on the information to UK police.

Indian news agency PTI said the couple had been rescued from a car bound for a house in the village of Mandarakuppam, 112 miles (180km) from Chennai, on Sunday night.

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