Former vice-president of The Maldives, Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor, who had rebelled against the then president of the island nation in 2015, Abdulla Yameen, and was sacked, was on Thursday detained in a barge trying to enter India illegally.
Authorities at the Tuticorin port in Tamil Nadu said that Adeeb was detained after he reached the Indian shores of Thoothukudi illegally on a barge named 'Virgo 9'. They added that officials are yet to confirm whether Adeeb was trying to seek asylum in India.
"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," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a query on Adeeb not permitted entry into India.
Adeeb, 37, served as the Vice President of Maldives in 2015. However, he was removed from the post after he rebelled against erstwhile president Abdulla Yameen.
According to Maldivian media reports, Adeeb was freed from house arrest two weeks ago after he had served a 15-day contempt of court sentence. The sentence was completed after he returned to the Maldives from medical leave in India in early July.
Earlier, he had also served a three years prison term on terrorism and corruption charges. The appeal courts later wiped out Adeeb's 33-year jail sentence on terrorism and corruption charges, citing political influence over his trials.
But the Supreme Court imposed a travel ban on Adeeb in late June. His passport was also withheld.
Earlier in the day, Kumar during a weekly briefing said that the Ministry was seeking to establish the veracity of the reports about the "arrest" of Adeeb.
"We are trying to ascertain the veracity of the reports. We will contact their government and find out if these reports are true."
( With inputs from ANI )