Police claim communication error in stating PGO instructed to drop charges on Indian fishermen

Foreign fishing boat spotted 15 nautical miles north of N. Atoll | Photo: MNDF

Malé, Maldives – Maldives Police Service has said that Prosecutor Generals Office (PGO) did not instruct police to drop charges on the Indian fishermen who were caught in Maldivian waters while catching fish using nets and that it was an internal communications error.

After police had sent a letter to Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture stating that PGO had instructed to drop the charges on the arrested fishermen after police sent the case to them after investigation, PGO had confuted the claims stating that PGO did not give any such instruction on the matter.

When local media outlet ‘Dhiyares’ asked police about the matter after PGO’s comments, police did not initially give an answer. After Maldives Journalists Association expressed its concerns over the silence from police, they told that the letter was sent to the ministry due to an internal communications error within Maldives Police Service.

The Indian vessel was spotted 30 nautical miles north of N. Atoll, and was initially reported to MNDF CG MRCC at around 08:40 on February 24, 2021, by a local fishing boat “Asaree” while the vessel was fishing in Maldivian waters using buoy fishing gear and netting. According to local laws, fishing in Maldivian waters and entering the Maldivian Economic Zone without permission is a criminal offense.