Thoothukudi/New Delhi: Former vice-president of Maldives Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor was “detained” by Indi-an officials at the Thoothukudi port on Thurs-day when he tried entering the country on a tugboat, disguised as one of its crew.
“He cannot disembark as he came without information and he has no valid travel documents. He is being questioned,” a police officer at Thoothukudi said.
“He has not set foot on our soil. He remains on the tugboat,” the officer said refusing to give further details.
One of the nine crew members on the tugboat, a native of Thoothukudi called Bosco, contacted the vessel’s agent at Thoothukudi and disclosed him about the illegal presence of Adheeb.
The agent in turn informed the Thoothu-kudi based Indian Coast Guard officials, who on Wednesday night intercepted the tug boat at 15 nautical miles from Thoothukudi and brought it under their control.
The Coast Guard did not permit the boat crew or Adheep to disembark at Thoothukudi. Soon officials from the Central intelligence agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau, RAW and Immigration, besides TN police's Q branch, quizzed Adheep and the nine crew members-eight of them Indonesians-for several hours. "They have completed their questioning; we await instructions from Delhi", said a high-ranking official.
In Delhi, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Adheeb was also entering India through a designated entry point. “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,” he said.
“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,”Kumar said, adding that since Adheeb has been apprised that he cannot enter the country, he is expected to return now.
Sources said Adheep intercepted the tugboat Virgo 9 just a few kms from the Male port and boarded the Singapore-registered vessel owned by KK Wong Marine Services and pulling a stone-laden barge bound for Thoothukudi on Saturday. It is not clear whether there was any arrangement between him and the tug crew to take him to Thoothukudi.
The 37-year-old Maldivian politician was being held in 'house arrest' in his country in connection with several criminal cases....