Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, the leader of the newly launched opposition coalition, is being investigated by the Maldives police on suspicion of links to a forged arrest warrant for President Abdulla Yameen.
A police spokesman said attempts to handover a summons for an interrogation have been unsuccessful.
Jameel, Yameen’s former deputy, is living in self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom. He fled the Maldives July last year, days before the parliament impeached him in a controversial vote.
Akram Kamaludeen, a member of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, and the chairman of private TV channel Raajje TV is also being investigated over the warrant. Akram is also out of the country.
A judge and the former chief prosecutor were found guilty of terrorism and handed 17-year jail sentences over the arrest warrant. Prosecutors said the February 7 warrant was forged in a conspiracy to kidnap the president.
Ismail Ali, the police spokesman, said the investigation was launched after an anonymous witness in the prosecution’s case claimed Jameel and Akram were behind the forged warrant.
“We call on Jameel to present himself to the police and answer charges,” Ismail said. He declined to comment when asked if the police would seek an Interpol notice.
Jameel heads the Maldives United Opposition, a coalition comprising of the MDP, the Adhaalath Party, and the families of former government officials who were prosecuted and jailed in the past year.
The MUO said the police inquiry was “an attempt to discredit and intimidate the United Opposition through unlawful court processes.”
Accusing Yameen of corruption, the MUO has called for Yameen’s arrest and the establishment of a transitional government to restore democracy in the Maldives.
Ali Waheed, the MDP chairperson and the deputy leader of the MUO, said in a tweet tonight: “We will ask the police to arrest and investigate President Yameen on charges of theft and the atrocities he has committed.”
The February 7 arrest warrant was sought days after the auditor general’s office issued a report detailing the theft of some US$80million from state coffers.
Yameen has categorically denied involvement in the historic corruption scandal, claiming his former deputy Ahmed Adeeb had masterminded the theft.
Adeeb took up the vice president’s post after Jameel’s impeachment, but fell out of favour after a blast on Yameen’s speedboat last September. He has since been convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 15 years in jail over the alleged assassination plot.
Other members of the coalition include former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.