Former Maldivian V-P sent back to home country

Former Vice President of Maldives Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.

Former Maldivian Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb, who sought political asylum in India, has been sent back to his home country from the southern port city of Thoothukudi after two days of interrogation by law enforcement agencies.

Adeeb was apprehended on Thursday after he attempted to enter India illegally in a tugboat hoping to seek political asylum here due to court cases back home. After two days of interrogation by various central agencies,

Adeeb was handed over to Maldivian officials at the Internal Maritime Border Line (IMBL) in the wee hours of Saturday.

He was sent back in the tugboat that he had taken, Virgo 9, and was transferred to a ship belonging to the Maldives Government at the IMBL. Maldivian authorities also detained the nine crew members of the boat though they had valid travel documents to travel from Male.

Ever since the boat was apprehended late on Wednesday night, it was docked at the Old Thoothukudi Harbour and Adeeb was not allowed to come out of the vessel. The boat was intercepted 15 nautical miles off Thoothukudi coast.

Sources clarified that the former V-P was sent back and not “deported” since he was not even allowed to enter India. They said investigators found USD 10,000 in the travel bag that Adeeb brought along with him.

“Initial investigations have revealed that Adeeb boarded the vessel 100 kms off Male and efforts are on to find out whether he had made any arrangements to get off the boat before it entered Thoothukudi,” another official said.

Adeeb, the youngest to be the Vice-President in the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago in 2015, also carried a photocopy of his passport since the original is still in the custody of authorities in Maldives.

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 former President Abdulla Yameen inside the island and outside.

Inducted by Abdulla 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.

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