Ex-tourism minister says not questioned by police over allegations

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has said the police did not question him in their investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him. Ali made the revelation while speaking to the media in a virtual news conference held Monday.

Seven charges were raised in November 2020 against the former tourism minister, who was dismissed from his post over sexual harassment allegations. The charges raised against Ali Waheed include inflicting sexual injury, attempted rape, indecent exposure, sexual assault, attempt to cause sexual assault and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct.

Despite the allegations against him, he was not summoned to the police for questioning until 19 days after the allegations came to light. Before that, the police searched his place of residence on July 11, 2020, and seized some items in his home. Ali first spoke on the allegations against him on July 19 after being summoned to the police.

Speaking to the media that night, Ali had said the allegations against him were false and that people were plotting against him. He said he would not stand down and would face any trial with confidence. He also said he had no reason to be afraid.

'I believe this is a plot against me by a group. I wish to receive justice as soon as possible. With God's will, it will become clear that I am innocent. This day, too, shall pass. The winds of this storm will not remain this strong forever,' said Ali, speaking to the media in front of the police headquarters on July 19, 2020.

In Monday's press conference, Ali revealed that the police did not question him regarding the allegations against him on the night of July 19. Ali said the two lawyers that accompanied him, Haseen and Shairu, can confirm that he was not questioned that night.

The Criminal Court imposed a travel ban against Ali in July 2020, and charges were raised against him on November 218, 2020. The court earlier this year lifted the ban after doctors confirmed that Ali Waheed had to travel abroad to seek medical treatment. Ali then left the country in February and has not returned since.