Former VP of Maldives still detained near Thoothukudi port

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Chennai, Aug 2  Former vice president of Maldives Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor, who secretly fled the Maldives on a boat to India, is still being questioned by Central government agencies near Thoothukudi port in Tamil Nadu, said officials on Friday.

Adeeb was detained after his tugboat was intercepted by the Coast Guard near the coast of Thoothukudi on Thursday while he was reportedly trying to enter India illegally as a crew member of a tug boat.

“He is still in the boat. Central government officials are questioning him. He has not been allowed to disembark,” a police official in Thoothukudi told IANS.

“The issue is being dealt by the Ministry of External Affairs. We are not aware of any development in the matter,” an official of the Thoothukudi district administration told IANS.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had on Thursday said that Adeeb had “not been permitted entry into the country” since he did not possess valid documents.

MEA 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.

“Since he was not entering India through a designated entry point and did not possess the valid documents, he has not been permitted entry into India.”

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.

He reportedly attempted to pass off as a crew member of the Virgo9 tug boat.

The authorities stopped the tug boat acting on a tip-off it had gone to the Maldives with nine people and was returning with 10 passengers. The boat was on its way to the Tuticorin port.

On interrogation, it was found that the additional person was Maldives’ former Vice President.