Former vice president Ahmed Adeeb was released to house arrest on Wednesday night with an electronic tag that allows the authorities to monitor his whereabouts.
The Maldives Correctional Service confirmed the transfer but declined to provide any further information to the media.
The 37-year-old fled the Maldives in late July in defiance of a travel ban imposed by the Supreme Court. The Indian authorities held him when he arrived at the Tuticorin port as a stowaway on a tugboat and handed him over to the Maldives police at the maritime border.
Upon his return, the Supreme Court detained Adeeb pending a judgment on an appeal. The Prosecutor General’s office sought the detention order after challenging a High Court decision that set aside Adeeb’s conviction over the theft of US$5 million from state coffers.
The PG office said on Tuesday that obstruction of justice charges have been raised against Adeeb over the escape attempt.
A few days after he was sent back to Maafushi prison earlier this month, Adeeb was brought to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in the capital after bumping his head on the wall of the toilet in his cell.
He remained under observation at the hospital until the transfer to house arrest.
Last Thursday, Adeeb testified as a prosecution witness in former president Abdulla Yameen’s money laundering trial. He claimed to have followed the president’s orders in siphoning off acquisition fees paid to the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation to lease islands and lagoons for resort development.
Adeeb called himself “a victim of a tyrannical regime” and claimed to have been threatened with murder or poisoning in prison after signing a cooperation agreement with the authorities. The beneficiaries of the stolen funds included people in high offices of the state, including ministers, judges and lawmakers, he told the court.
After serving three years in prison over the embezzlement scheme and an alleged plot to assassinate Yameen, Adeeb was transferred to house arrest in the wake of his former mentor’s defeat in September’s presidential election.
In late May, Adeeb walked out of court an innocent man after his 33-year combined sentence on terrorism and corruption charges was wiped out by the appeal courts, which cited political influence and ordered retrials.
According to police, Adeeb escaped after he was due to appear for questioning over the country’s biggest corruption scandal.
“Adeeb was cooperating with us on all cases,” a senior Maldives security official told Al Jazeera. “But maybe somewhere along the way he realised he might have to go back to jail because of the cases before the Supreme Court.”
The official suggested Adeeb might have been “scheming to abscond all along.”