Former Maldivian VP enters India illegally; detained

Former Maldivian Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb (Image courtesy ANI/Twitter)

Former Maldivian Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb, facing charges of attempting to assassinate the then President Abdulla Yameen and corruption, has been apprehended in the southern port city of Thoothukudi after he allegedly attempted to enter India illegally in a tugboat.

Adeeb, the youngest to be the Vice-President in the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago in 2015, was apprehended after he failed to show valid documents to enter India. Sources said Virgo 9, the Singapore-registered tugboat, was intercepted by Indian Coast Guard officials off Thoothukudi shore on Wednesday night during which they found Adeeb on board the vessel.

“The boat set out to Thoothukudi pulling a stone-laden barge from Male Port on July 27. A few kilometres away, Adeeb boarded the boat without valid documents. One of the crew members alerted the vessel agent in Thoothukudi about the presence of Adeeb in the tugboat. The agent alerted officials who swung into action,” a senior government official in Thoothukudi, who is privy to the details of the operation, told DH.

Adeeb, whose passport is in the custody of authorities in Maldives, failed to appear before the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Male on Wednesday in connection with the cases against him.

Officials from the ICG intercepted the boat 15 nautical miles from Thoothukudi on late Wednesday night and found Adeeb inside. “He is being interrogated by officials from various law-enforcement agencies including those from immigration department and Intelligence Bureau,” the official added.  

Thoothukudi is a port city, 600 kms from here, which is geographically close to Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The Ministry of External Affairs too confirmed the incident late on Thursday evening and maintained that the former Maldivian President has not been permitted entry into the country.

MUST READ: Maldivian VP had no valid papers: MEA

“There are designated entry points through which foreigners are allowed entry into India. The entry is facilitated on the basis of appropriate valid travel documents. In the instant case, since he was not entering India through a designated entry point and did not possess the valid document, he has not been permitted entry into India,” a statement issued by the ministry said.

Adeeb was in Pune last month for his treatment for an eye ailment and is a frequent visitor to India. Sources said there was no clarity on whether former Maldivian V-P wanted to seek political asylum in India or was using Thoothukudi as a transit point to fly to a western country.

Adeeb, who is facing a slew of corruption charges and was under house arrest till recently, is a crucial link for Maldivian authorities in establishing the properties owned by Yameen inside the island and outside.

Inducted by Yameen himself into the Cabinet and elevated as his deputy, Adeeb was arrested for plotting to assassinate Yameen and is alleged to have embezzled USD 90 million from state coffers. However, his jail sentence was quashed in May this year on the grounds of undue political influence over the trials in 2016. A fresh trial has been ordered against Adeeb and he was released from house arrest in mid-July.

Comments (+)