Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom has described his deputy as a "threat to national security" after his arrest over an alleged attempt to assassinate Gayoom in a speedboat bombing last month. 

Addressing the nation on Sunday, Gayoom said Vice President Ahmed Adeeb had provided the police with money and equipment outside of the state budget.

"Because of his [Ahmed Adeeb] influence over the police, it was deemed that an impartial investigation could not be carried out with the vice president remaining in office," the president told reporters. 

Gayoom also said the arrest was made in the best interest of the country. 

"The decision (to arrest him) was not easy, but it was taken for the security of the country," Gayoom told reporters.

Adeeb was detained Saturday, nearly a month after the explosion aboard President Gayoom's boat that was later determined to be an assassination bid.

A criminal court on Sunday allowed police to detain Adeeb for 15 days for questioning. He was not brought to court, but judges linked up with him and his lawyers through teleconferencing.

Home Minister Umar Naseer said on Saturday that Adeeb would be charged with "high treason," an offence not specified in the penal code, but a term used in the Maldives for terrorism or offences against the state by government officials, politicians, judges and others.

Adeeb's lawyer, Hussain Shameem, denied the allegations against the vice president.

Assassination attempt

Gayoom was unhurt when the explosion went off on his speedboat on September 28 as he was traveling to Male, the capital, from the airport at the end of a hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Gayoom's wife, an aide and a bodyguard were injured in the blast.

Authorities said initially that the explosion could have been the result of a mechanical failure, but they announced later that it was an attempt to assassinate Gayoom and launched a criminal investigation.

The device used to set off the explosion had been placed under the seat usually occupied by the president, who escaped uninjured because he was not sitting there, the government has said.

Gayoom said on Sunday that an investigation pointed to links between Adeeb and two soldiers who were arrested for tampering with evidence on the boat soon after the blast. He said police found bomb-making materials at the homes of the soldiers in a subsequent raid.

"They were first arrested because they tampered with the speedboat, according to police inquiry. Their link to the vice president was established later," said Gayoom.

The president said that while he had dismissed Adeeb from heading some committees, he would not initiate an impeachment to strip him of the vice presidency until his case is decided by a court.

Seven people, including Adeeb, were being held for questioning.

Adeeb was a staunch Gayoom loyalist and became vice president in July at the age of 33. Gayoom was instrumental in promoting Adeeb from tourism minister after the president got his politicians in parliament to impeach the previous vice president, Mohamed Jameel.

The Maldives is a popular upmarket tourist destination, but its image has suffered in recent years due to prolonged political unrest.

Source: Agencies