Colombo, February 12: Maldives officials are accusing two arrested Supreme Court justices and a former president of plotting to overthrow the government. They say police have found more than USD 200,000 in suspicious money in searches since a state of emergency was declared last week in the tourist haven.

A presidential statement yesterday said ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had bribed officials and judges and encouraged riots. It said he and the justices were "attempting to overthrow the government."

Opposition leaders rejected the accusations, saying President Yameen Abdul Gayoom is trying to weaken his political opponents. Political chaos has shaken the government since the Supreme Court ordered that a group of imprisoned opposition leaders be freed. The government pushed back, eventually declaring a state of emergency and arresting the two justices, Gayoom and other politicians.