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Freed Indians to arrive Friday morning
September 02, 2004 22:47 IST
After spending 42 days in captivity in Iraq, the three freed Indians will arrive in New Delhi on Friday morning to be reunited with their families.
Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed will be with the family members of Antaryami, Tilak Raj and Sukhdeo Singh to receive them at the Indira Gandhi International Airport when they arrive by a Kuwait Airways flight, official sources said.
A militant group, Islamic Secret Army - Holders of Black Banners, abducted the three, who worked as drivers for a Kuwaiti transport company, KGL, on July 21.
They were released on Wednesday after protracted negotiations and were immediately flown to Kuwait.
They spent the night at the Indian embassy in Kuwait.
KGL has given long leave to the three employees and left it to them to decide whether to return to work.
"All the formalities have been completed and they are scheduled to leave by a Kuwait Airways flight at 10 pm and they will reach Delhi around 5 am," Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Swash Pawan Singh said in Dubai.
"KGL, the company which employed them, has given them long leave and has allowed them to return and join duty if they so wish. We are grateful to them for the care shown," the ambassador said.
Asked about the ransom reportedly paid by KGL, he said, "I have no such information. Only KGL can comment on that."
KGL claimed they paid $1 million to secure the release of the three along with four Kenyans and an Egyptian.
Ahamed on Thursday issued a statement in Arabic read out on the Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV channel expressing thanks to all those who helped in the release of the hostages.
"In the name of god, most gracious and merciful, I am very happy and express my sincere thanks to our brothers and friends in Iraq for releasing the three Indian hostages," he said.
"I also thank all those who extended their help and assistance to the government and people of India and stood with us all along this period. Thank you very much. May Allah bestow on you the best rewards."