Police late Tuesday admitted that the DNA recovered from the hand gun found in former defence minister Mohamed Nazim's residence matched the DNA profile of former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor.
The stunning admission by police came hours after Nazim's lawyer publicized the findings of the police forensic report on the handgun by reiterating that Nazim had been framed.
During the press conference earlier Tuesday, Nazim’s lawyer Husnu Suood said the police forensic report showed that the DNA found on the handgun matched Adheeb who is accused of framing the then defence minister.
The report has been shared with home minister Umar Naseer, Police chief Ahmed Areef and Prosecutor General Aishath Bisham, Suood who served as the Attorney General said.
However, assistant police commissioner Abdulla Nawaz told reporters hours later that despite the DNA match, it was too early to say that the then defence minister had been framed or Adheeb who himself is serving 10 years for weapons possession had been behind it.
According to Nawaz, several other DNA profiles still needed further investigation.
Suood during the first pre-trial hearing of Nazim’s final appeal, told the Supreme Court last week that a police officer named Asif had planted the weapon inside his room during the raid.
He also alleged that the whole thing was planned by Adheeb and the ex-Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed and had urged the court to summon them both.
Suood had also urged the court to summon the then Chief Criminal Judge Abdulla Mohamed to prove that the police had produced falsified information for the search warrant on Nazim’s residence.
However, prosecutors during Tuesday’s pre-trial hearing argued that the claim of being framed by a police officer was not presented by the defence during the investigation, the original trial or the first appeal.
The sudden and questionable nature of the claim does not warrant the court to summon any witnesses, prosecutors insisted.
Prosecutors had also admitted that the forensic report on the handgun is yet to be completed.
In light of the significant break in the case, Suood called on the authorities to immediately release his client.
“The government has now found that Nazim was framed by Adheeb,” he added.
Meanwhile, moments after Suood’s press conference Home minister Umar Naseer stepped down for reasons yet to be confirmed.
The home minister is yet to specify a reason behind his sudden decision to step down but Umar last week had admitted that Adheeb was more than capable of framing Nazim after admitting the ex-VP had threatened Nazim.
Umar’s influence within the government has been on the decline after his crackdown on gangs.
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Sunday relieved the home minister of the authority to issue monitoring and control (MONICON) orders to appoint a four member committee to handle the task.
However, the controversial anti terrorism law only affords the authority to issue MONICON orders to the home minister. But the newly formed committee mandated to “advise” the home minister on MONICON orders has effectively relieved the minister as the sole authority for such orders.
Maldives has electronically tagged, conducted surveillance and intercepted communications of several high-profile gang members which has put pressure on Umar from even within the government.
Opposition parties have continued to accuse president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom for having links to gangs.
The decision to relieve Umar of MONICON authority also came after a spate of gang related stabbings that left two fourteen year olds dead.