Days after he was detained trying to enter India illegally via Tamil Nadu, the former Vice President of Maldives, Ahmed Adeeb, was deported to the Maldives in the wee hours of Saturday.
Confirming the deportation, officials told TNM that hours after Adeeb had been detained, officials from the Bureau of Immigration had arrived in Thoothukudi from New Delhi to question him. The foreign leader was sent on his way back to his home country in the same vessel in which he arrived, the tugboat Virgo 9.
Authorities said that the Bureau of Immigration concurred with the Maldivian authorities to hand the former Vice President over to the island nation's military mid-sea, at the International Maritime Boundary Line. Adeeb is being accompanied by escorts from the Indian Coast Guard.
Ahmed Adeeb was detained for attempting to enter India by a shipping vessel near Thoothukudi on Thursday. He was aboard the Virgo 9, a Singapore-flagged vessel which had carried cargo from Thoothukudi to the Maldives. It is said that Ahmed Adeeb had boarded the vessel on its return trip back to India. The Coast Guard had intercepted the tug boat acting on a tip-off that it had gone to the Maldives with nine people, but was returning with 10 passengers. The boat was on its way to the Tuticorin port.
Interrogation by Coast Guard and Immigration officials revealed that the additional person was the former Vice President of Maldives. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said that Adeeb was "not permitted entry into the country since he did not possess valid documents".
Ahmed Adeeb was made Vice President of the island nation in 2015 by President Abdulla Yameen. An explosion aboard the Maldivian President's yacht in September 2015 saw Adeeb being accused of an assassination attempt at the President and treason. While the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation carried out an investigation and stated that it found no evidence of a bomb being used in the attack, Adeeb was found guilty and sentenced to a 15-year jail term. He was also sentenced to 10 yearsâ€™ imprisonment on terror charges for possession of firearms. He was placed under house arrest in November 2018 after having served three years in prison. In May this year, the Supreme Court of Maldives quashed his 10-year conviction and had ordered fresh trial.
(With inputs from IANS)