Maldives police late Sunday revealed new suspects and claimed to have "uncovered" new document evidence in the alleged plot to overthrow the government which has dogged the entire country.
The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court last Thursday ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had declared a 15 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed as the apex court rejected the government's 'legal and judicial' concerns over the order.
Since emergency state was declared police have made a series of high profile arrests including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, two lawmakers, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and the chief judicial administrator.
Police on Sunday read out a statement on state television confirmed that a total eight suspects had been arrested thus far while over 30 people had been questioned over the case.
Police in the statement had also implicated the suspects recently arrested which included Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon, South-Machchangoalhi MP Abdulla Sinan, Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim's eldest son Ibrahim Siyad Gasim and judge Ali Hameed's wife.
Police had also confirmed that the manhunt for Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed was also in connection to the same case.
Police said "document evidence" had been found to confirm the accusations against the chief judicial administrator Hassan Saeed while adding that over USD200,000 along with over MVR150,000 were found in a bag linked to judge Ali Hameed. Police had also said Gayoom had been providing "assistance" to judge Hameed and his family.
The statement also claimed to have found "document evidence" to prove that judge Ali Hameed had purchased a flat with the bribe money and an unnamed company had "loaned" over USD2 million to the judge.
Police further said a "black bag" which had been brought out of Gayoom's residence had contained "evidence" which had been used by his son Faris to directly influence the top court judges.
The "black bag" had been found in a sting operation from the residence of the recently arrested Gayoom's secretary Najma Ibrahim, police added.
Police noted the attempts made to undermine the investigation despite uncovering "strong evidence" linked to the alleged coup plot.
The latest accusations came after police had confirmed Gayoom had bribed the judges into issuing the order in a bid to overthrow the government.
The accusations against Gayoom included bribing lawmakers and judges to influence their authority while the deposed ruling party leader has also been accused of creating discord within the security forces to back the overthrow of his half-brother's government.
The two top court judges are accused of accepting bribes to influence Supreme Court rulings, abuse of power and blocking the functioning of the entire justice system.
In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the now rescinded order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.
Former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb's brother in law Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.
Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before state of emergency was declared.
The top court had not rescinded the part of the order which quashed its anti-defection ruling ordering the country's electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling.