Maldives Speaker brokering for way out for Rajapaksas?

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The Maldives Journal (TMJ), an online news portal, leaked the news that the Speaker of the Maldives Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, has been brokering safe passage for beleaguered former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his family, which former Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa and Nasheed denied on Twitter.

However, following their tweets, a TMJ journalist  exposed Rajapaksa and his family’s passport copies on Twitter and asked, “What about the passport copies of you, your son and wife and why did Nasheed come into possession of those copies?” “Could you please explain?”

Nasheed was in Sri Lanka last week, according to TMJ, and volunteered to coordinate international relief efforts for Sri Lanka despite having no experience in the field.

Furthermore, TMJ stated that Nasheed has met with high-level political figures and lobbied for the Rajapaksa family’s safe passage to the Maldives. According to a senior Maldivian Government official, Mahinda Rajapaksa called Nasheed after he resigned. Rajapaksa asked Nasheed to make arrangements for his family to stay in the Maldives until the situation in Sri Lanka calmed down, the TMJ quoted.

Rajapaksa had initially planned to settle his family in a property of a Maldivian tourism tycoon, Champa Muhammad Moosa (Uhchu). Moosa is known to have close ties with the Rajapaksas. Nasheed had shot down the idea, citing that Moosa was an untrustworthy figure. “Uhchu is not to be trusted,” he said.

As an alternative, Nasheed had proposed that Rajapaksas purchase a private residence in SonevaFushi, a property owned by India’s SonuShivdasani. Sonu is a close associate of Nasheed. Shivdasani has close ties to India’s ruling BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP). He is suspected to have bank rolled the Maldivian Democratic Party during the tenure of former President Abdullah Yameen.

Taking to twitter,Fushi also denied that the property was to be sold to the Rajapsaksa family.

The source also reported that Sonu Shivdasani had agreed to sell a private villa to the Rajapaksa family – at USD 12 million. An additional villa, priced at USD 3 million, is also included in the deal, and will be used as housing for the family’s staff and security.

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office reported that Nasheed had generously offered to assist Sri Lanka in securing relief from foreign nations. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had accepted the offer.

Since then, Nasheed has held several high-level meetings, including one with the former Minister of Youth and Sports,as well as opposition leader Sajith Premadasa.

While his original pledge was to coordinate international relief efforts, this has taken backstage to the lobbying efforts he is undertaking. In each meeting, Nasheed had constantly and consistently, lobbied for safe passage for Rajapaksa and his family.

In his meeting with Premadasa, Nasheed had talked of creating peace and political stability. In these meetings, he had urged all to refrain from revenge.

Sri Lankan courts have seized Rajapaksa’s passport and a travel ban is on the former Prime Minister.

One of Nasheed’s tasks in the country, the source said, was to coordinate between various stakeholders, so that the Rajapaksas can leave the country. The source added that Mahinda had agreed to support and fund Nasheed’s political activities, in exchange for safe passage.

(SRM)