India denies asylum to former Maldives VP Abdul Ghafoor

Turning down the asylum plea of former Vice President of the Republic of Maldives, Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor, India handed him over to the authorities of his country, last evening.

According to the sources,  Ahmed Adeeb, who has an active travel ban imposed on him by the Supreme Court of Maldives, fled from the island nation through a Virgo 9 tugboat on July 27. He has been transported back in the same vessel back to the Maldives, along with the officials.

The Virgo entered the Indian territorial waters on July 31 and was anchored off at the Thoothukudi harbour on August 1. Upon arrival, he initiated the process of claiming political asylum from the Indian Government.

Following the plea, the intelligence sleuths and officials from the external affairs ministry initiated an enquiry with the former vice-president and found that his entry is not through a designated point and did not possess valid travel documents. 

Meanwhile, the Maldives Police Service, in a press statement, said that Ghafoor remains a subject of investigation for misappropriation of funds, corruption and money laundering, adding that he failed to appear for “an investigative interview” scheduled on July 31.

The Maldives police also said that it was engaged with the Indian government to bring back Ghafoor.  While so, on Friday post-midnight, a team of Maldivian Security Services and government officials, accompanied by Indian officials reached Thoothukudi and questioned Ghafoor.

Further, a transit was issued by the Indian Government to deport Ghafoor and he was taken back to the island nation on Saturday, early morning, said a source from the Intelligence agency. Ghafoor served as the Vice-President of the Maldives for a short period in 2015, previously holding the position of Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture.

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