Umar dismisses Imran’s allegations as ‘blatant lies’

Former Home Minister Umar Naseer. (File Photo/Sun)

Umar Naseer has denied the allegation made by Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla that the extradition of Abdulla Luthfee hadn’t been a top priority to Umar during his time as Home Minister.

Imran, during a questioning session at the Parliament this Monday, said that the Maldives Police Service put a lot of effort into an operation to apprehend and extradite Luthfee based on credible intel on his whereabouts in 2014. He said the efforts fell through due to lack of approval by Umar.

Umar has issued a statement denying the allegation.

“What Minister Imran said about me at the Parliament are blatant lies. I am the minister who put the most effort into finding Luthfee,” said Umar.

Speaking at the Parliament this Monday, Imran said that Luthfee’s extradition fell through despite the hard work of the police because it hadn’t been a priority to Umar at the time.

“There are verbal communications between the then-Home Minister and the team. The minister apparently said it wasn’t a top priority to extradite Luthfee to Male’ at the time,” said Imran.

Umar issued a statement detailing some of the efforts made to find Luthfee during his time as Home Minister last week following similar sentiments by many MDP parliamentarians.

Announced MVR 75,000 reward money for intel leading up to Luthfee’s arrest, increased reward money for intel on Luthfee to USD 10,000 and supplied the information to the Sri Lankan police force.

Tabled Luthfee’s case for discussion and asked assistance from Sri Lankan authorities to find and apprehend him at an official meeting with the Sri Lankan Law and Order Minister in Colombo.

Asked for assistance again from the Sri Lankan Home Minister during a ministerial level SAARC meeting in Nepal.

Asked for assistance again from the Sri Lankan Police Commissioner during an official meeting.

Asked for assistance from, and sent Sri Lankan police to Nawaloka Hospital when Luthfee was sighted there with former Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem (Kerafa Naseem). He said that Luthfee had fled the hospital by the time the officers reached the location.

Sent a team of covert police operatives to Nugegoda based on intel Luthfee was residing in the area.

He said that it had been the USD 10,000 reward money announced during his time as Home Minister, as well as his efforts to make sure every Sri Lankan police officer had a mugshot of Luthfee in case he was ever sighted, which resulted in Luthfee having no choice but to surrender to embassy officials during the security sweeps in Sri Lanka.

The foiled terror plot of November 3, 1988 to overthrow former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s administration killed 19 Maldivian citizens; eight officers and 11 civilians.

Luthfee was originally sentenced to death for the crime but his sentence was later commuted to a life sentence.

He went on the run after he was granted medical furlough to travel to Sri Lanka for medical treatment on January 16, 2010, but surrendered to officials at the Maldivian embassy in Colombo on May 1 amid security sweeps in the country following the Easter bombings on April 21.