Akasha trial could shed light on puzzle of missing actress

Saturday July 27 2019

The chilling confession of an associate of two Akasha brothers, who are on trial in the United States for drug trafficking, could shed the light on the disappearance of a popular Indian actress in Kenya.

Vijaygiri “Vicky” Goswami, an Indian national, shocked a New York court this week with horrifying accounts of the violence that Baktash Akasha, 42, and his younger brother Ibrahim Akasha, 30, meted out to both their business rivals and family members.

The brothers are sons of drug baron Ibrahim Akasha who was shot dead in a street in Netherlands in 2000.

The two brothers and Goswami were extradited to the US in January 2017 and charged with conspiring to export 99 kilogrammes of heroin and two kilogrammes of methamphetamine into the US.

Goswami, 59, is co-operating with US prosecutors and on Thursday described to the court in graphic detail how the two Akasha brothers arranged for the killing of a South African named Pinky, a business associate with whom they had fallen out. Pinky was shot 32 times inside his car in South Africa.

Goswami also narrated to the court how the elder Akasha allegedly killed his wife and beat up one of his sons to near death.


“Goswami was told by both Ibrahim and Baktash’s current wife that Baktash killed his former wife and Gowami witnessed a dispute during which Ibrahim confronted Baktash about this murder. He did not respond,” the court heard.

Goswami said he witnessed Baktash tie his teenage boy to a tree, beat him to a pulp and just like the olden slave days, branded him with a hot metal rod. “The son was hospitalised for his injuries but survived,” the submissions also read.

He claimed that he too had been on the receiving end of the fury of the Akasha brothers. He gave the testimony before US District Judge Victor Marrero ahead of the sentencing of the two brothers who have already pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges.

However, what Goswami did not tell the court is the fate of his wife, Bollywood actress Mamta Kulkarni, who was last seen in Kenya but who has since disappeared without a trace.

A June 18, 2016 article in the Gulf Times, an online publication based in Qatar, quoted Indian authorities in Thane, the state of Maharashtra, saying they would request Interpol to issue a Red Notice for her arrest.

“Police said they would ask the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to get an Interpol Red Corner notice against her to facilitate quick deportation from Kenya, where she is reported to be living since the past few years with her husband and business partner Vicky Goswami, a co-accused in the case,” read the article.

Ms Kulkarni and Goswami are linked to a haul of ephedrine drugs that was seized during raids in several cities in the Maharashtra state, whose street value was estimated to be more than Rs20 billion (equivalent to $275 million or Sh27.5 billion).