Mumbai: Ali Punjani leaves BKC hotel, goes into hiding
Mombasa County police commander Augustine Nthumbi tells mid-day that the drug lord had not entered Kenya
Even after a week of the Mombasa Police declaring that they would write to the Director of Criminal Investigation, Interpol in Kenya, to seek legal co-operation of the Indian Police in the investigation against drug-trafficker Ali Punjani, no such request has reached the Mumbai Police. This in turn has paved the way for Punjani to move out of the BKC hotel, where he was staying after being discharged from hospital, and take shelter in an undisclosed location, the Mumbai police have said. However, Mombasa County police commander Augustine Nthumbi told mid-day that Punjani had not entered Kenya.
A police officer said they had been waiting for the administrative request from their Mombasa counterparts. "A request to either detain or arrest Punjani has not reached us yet. We have learnt that he has already checked out of the BKC hotel where he was staying with his sister after being discharged from hospital," the officer added.
He further said, "Punjani is suspected to be one of the top international drug traffickers. So we had been keeping a track of his movements. He is wanted in Kenya but no offence has been registered against him in India and Mumbai in particular. Hence, we have no right to arrest him. We were waiting for an administrative request from Interpol but nothing has come yet."
Punjani was supposed to fly to Kenya on August 26 but he extended his stay in Mumbai just to stave off any legal complication in Mombasa as the police, there, have issued an arrest warrant against him. mid-day has also learnt that Punjani has changed his legal advisor who had filed an anticipatory bail plea for him citing his poor health condition.
The problem for Punjani aggravated after Kenyan cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i launched a massive drive under the umbrella of its ambitious campaign ‘War on Drugs’ after he (Punjani) was mentioned in a New York court by Indian national Vijaygiri Goswami alias Vicky Goswami, who has been charged along with Baktash Akasha and Ibrahim Akasha ie Akasha brothers for running international drug cartels.
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