Tamil Nadu

Fleeing Maldives leader held off Tamil Nadu

Maldives’ former Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor in a boat in Thoothukudi on August 1, 2019. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Former Vice-President of Maldives Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor, who secretly fled the Maldives on a boat to India, was held by Indian authorities near the coast of Thoothukudi in southern Tamil Nadu on Thursday. 

Mr. Adeeb was convicted by a Maldivian court in a plot to assassinate former President Abdulla Yameen, but the country’s Supreme Court had quashed the sentence and ordered a fresh trial. 

The police said he was on board a Mongolian-flagged tugboat, Virgo-9, that set sail from the Maldives on July 27 on its way back to Thoothukudi after delivering bulk cargo. Besides Mr. Adeeb, the boat had nine workers — eight Indonesian nationals and a man from Thoothukudi.

While Coast Guard sources in Thoothukudi told The Hindu that the boat was intercepted in the sea near Manappad, the Coast Guard IG (Eastern Region), Paramesh, denied that the agency had any role in the detention of Mr. Adeeb. 

Tamil Nadu Director General of Police J.K. Tripathy said the issue was being dealt with by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and other central agencies.

MEA official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “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.”

The boat was anchored about 50 metres from the old harbour here, since around 12 p.m. and was yet to be docked at the time of filing this report on Thursday evening.

Immigration Department officials were awaiting instructions from the government regarding the future course of action. There has not been any official information about whether Mr Adeeb was trying to seek asylum in India or had other motives for his fleeing Maldives.

Mr. Adeeb, who was facing a 33-year-sentence on charges including corruption, illegal possession of weapons and an assassination attempt following an explosion on a speedboat in which the former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen was travelling, was acquitted of the charges and a retrial was ordered in some of the cases. Until recently, he was under house arrest, Maldivian media reported.

Recently, Mr. Adeeb had travelled to a hospital in Pune for receiving glaucoma treatment on June 14 accompanied by his wife and Maldivian authorities.

According to a report in Maldives Independent he was freed from house arrest two weeks ago after serving a 15-day contempt of court sentence. The Supreme Court had imposed a travel ban on Mr Adeeb in late June. His passport was withheld after the Prosecutor General’s office filed appeals challenging the High Court rulings that set aside his convictions.

(With inputs from Delhi and Chennai)

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Printable version | May 3, 2021 12:52:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/former-maldives-vp-ahmed-adeeb-detained-in-india/article28784565.ece

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