We will arrest Ali Punjani the moment he lands in Kenya, says Mombasa police chief

Updated: Aug 29, 2019, 09:24 IST | Diwakar Sharma |

Newly appointed Mombasa police chief tells mid-day that they will write to Interpol to take local help in case against bizman Ali Punjani, who is cooped up in a BKC five-star

Ali Punjani outside the five-star hotel at BKC that he had moved into, soon after his surgery at Asian Heart Hospital earlier this month. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Ali Punjani outside the five-star hotel at BKC that he had moved into, soon after his surgery at Asian Heart Hospital earlier this month. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The new Mombasa County police commander, Augustine Nthumbi, has taken cognisance of mid-day's extensive reportage, which revealed the exact whereabouts of alleged drug lord and business tycoon, Ali Punjani, in Mumbai. Nthumbi told this reporter that the Mombasa police will write a request letter to Interpol seeking the help of the Indian police, to arrest him.

We have gone through the reports revealing his (Punjani's) whereabouts, so we are writing to the Director of Criminal Investigation, Interpol in Kenya, to immediately seek the legal co-operation of Indian Police in the criminal investigation case against him," Nthumbi told mid-day. Nthumbi recently replaced Johnstone Ipara, who has allegedly been shunted by the Kenyan government over his suspected connection with Punjani.

Also Read: Mombasa top cop denies link to 'absconding' businessman Ali Punjani

Punjani was mentioned in a New York court by Indian national Vijaygiri Goswami alias Vicky Goswami who has been charged alongwith the Akasha brothers, for running an international drug cartel. File pics
Punjani was mentioned in a New York court by Indian national Vijaygiri Goswami alias Vicky Goswami who has been charged alongwith the Akasha brothers, for running an international drug cartel. File pics

Arrest warrant in Mombasa

Punjani absconded from Kenya and took refuge in a five-star hotel in BKC, Bandra, where he is staying with his sister after undergoing surgery in Asian Heart Institute. He was supposed to fly to Kenya on August 26 but has extended his stay for five days in Mumbai, just to stave off any legal complications in Mombasa, as the police there have issued an arrest warrant against him.

Also Read: Cops keeping 'hawk-eye' on drug trafficking suspect Ali Punjani

"There is an arrest warrant issued against him and he is wanted in Mombasa. We will arrest him the moment he lands here," Nthumbi told mid-day. The problem for Punjani aggravated after Kenyan cabinet secretary Fred Matiang'i launched a massive drive under its ambitious campaign, 'War on Drugs,' after he (Punjani) was mentioned in a New York court by Indian national Vijaygiri Goswami alias Vicky Goswami. Goswami has been charged alongwith Baktash Akasha and Ibrahim Akasha ie the Akasha brothers, for running an international drug cartel.

Punjani recuperating at the Asian Heart Institute after surgery
Punjani recuperating at the Asian Heart Institute after surgery

Akasha family link
Goswami, the husband of Bollywood actress Mamata Kulkarni, first came into contact with the notorious drug lords — the Akasha family — in the late 1980s, when he worked with Baktash, his (Baktash's) father — Ibrahim Abdalla Akasha (Abdalla) — and another drug trafficker named Muhammad Asif Hafeez, to distribute tons of hashish and mandrax internationally.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) investigation of the Akasha crime family is replete with confirmations of their long history in drug trafficking. On September 19, 2014, for example, Baktash described his historical drug trafficking with his father, Goswami, and Hafeez. Baktash described how Hafeez and Goswami used to send tons of drugs to Europe, and how he (Baktash) and his father "worked with him (Goswami)."

Punjani's close associate, Tony Sanghani, was assaulted by the Akashas. In September 2014, Baktash became concerned that Sanghani was setting up an alliance between Goswami and Punjani, that would push the Akashas out of the drug market. Baktash, Ibrahim and others approached Sanghani and brutally beat him. During the assault, Baktash beat Goswami as well. Ibrahim beat up Sanghani and shot him. Sanghani suffered serious injuries, went into a coma, and was hospitalised for several weeks. Another victim of the Akashas was a close associate of Punjani known as 'Speedy.' Baktash, Ibrahim, Goswami, Baktash's bodyguards, and others, kidnapped Speedy from a mall and took him to Baktash's home, where he was beaten.

Also Read: Mumbai: Ali Punjani got his bypass done in BKC hospital

After the assault, Baktash directed that Speedy be dropped off at Punjani's casino, to send a message. Baktash, Ibrahim, Goswami and the others drove Speedy to the casino. Immediately prior to their expulsion in January 2017 from Kenya for their involvement in drug trafficking, the Akashas engaged in one final attack on Punjani's organisation. On New Year's Eve 2016, Baktash and Ibrahim went to a nightclub owned by Punjani with a large group of associates, including armed guards. Goswami, who was also present, witnessed Baktash and Ibrahim draw their guns and fight with Punjani's associates. Following the altercation, Baktash and Ibrahim laughed proudly, and Baktash told Goswami he held the power in Mombasa. Baktash has been sentenced to 25 years in jail in the US. Ibrahim is yet to be sentenced.

16
No. of days since Ali Punjani's house was raided in Kenya and he surfaced in Mumbai

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