MALE, Maldives (AP) — Police in the Maldives said Thursday that they are seeking the return from India of the country’s former vice president who they accuse of fleeing the Indian Ocean archipelago nation to avoid police questioning over embezzlement of state funds.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar confirmed that the former vice president, Ahmed Adeeb, tried to enter India by sea Thursday and not through a designated point of entry and without proper documents.
The Maldives police statement said Adeeb was to be questioned Wednesday over the alleged embezzlement of state funds, but he did not report and instead fled the country. Adeeb has had his passport confiscated by a court order due to pending court cases, the police statement said.
Adeeb had recently been freed from a 33-year jail sentence over corruption and terrorism related to an alleged assassination attempt on former president Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
He had been arrested and jailed in 2016 after a blast on Yameen’s speedboat. Yameen’s wife was slightly injured in the blast.
FBI officials assisting in the probe said that they did not trace any explosives in the boat and Adeeb’s jailing was criticized as politically motivated.
After Yameen’s defeat in last year’s presidential election, Maldivian courts set aside the convictions against Adeeb and ordered a fresh probe. However, the court had imposed a travel ban because the state had appealed Adeeb’s release.
Once a trusted ally and deputy to Yameen, Adeeb is now also a key state witness in the corruption cases against his former leader.