New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Saturday made one of the biggest breakthroughs in terror investigations with the arrest of top Lashkar-e-Toiba bomb expert Abdul Karim Tunda. The police arrested Tunda on Friday from the Indo-Nepal and said that it has confiscated a Pakistani passport from him.
"Abdul Karim Tunda, an important operative of the LeT and one of India's 20 most wanted, was arrested on Friday and he has been produced in the court. He was arrested from the Indo-Nepal border and we have confiscated a Pakistani passport from him," said SN Srivastava, the Delhi Police Special Cell CP.
The police claimed that Tunda had planned an attack in 2010 before the Commonwealth Games, but the operation failed. The Delhi Police also said that Tunda has been in touch with big terror heads like Azam Cheema, Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
Police said that Tunda also radicalised the youth and trained them in making IEDs. he has now been sent to a three-day police remand.
Meanwhile, Home Ministry sources have expressed happiness over the arrest. They have told CNN-IBN that Tunda's arrest and former Dawood aide Iqbal Mirchi's death in London last week have been a shot in the arm for the internal security establishment in India. Sources add that the twin blow may keep Lashkar-led terror groups silent for some time.
Tunda was one of the 20 terrorists whose extradition India had demanded from Pakistan after the 2001 attack on Parliament House. This list included Lashkar chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and his Jaish-e-Mohammad counterpart Maulana Azhar Masood Alvi.
A Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist, Tunda is wanted in India in connection with at least 40 terror cases in and around Delhi including a series of bomb blasts in India between 1996 and 1998. The Dawood Ibrahim aide is also wanted in 33 criminal cases.
Tunda had fled the country in the mid-1990s. He was even declared dead in Bangladesh and also reportedly arrested in Kenya. But the Kenyan Police had later clarified the man they had arrested was not Tunda.
Who is Abdul Karim Tunda?
Abdul Karim Tunda, a top 'bomber' of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, is a resident of Pilakhuwa area in Western Uttar Pradesh. He came to be known as 'Tunda' after losing his left arm in a bomb-making process.
He is one of the three co-founders of the jehadi movement in India. Tunda masterminded many North India bombings from 1996 to 1998.
He is wanted for 33 criminal cases and 40 blasts. Tunda is a suspect in Delhi, Panipat, Sonepat and Ludhiana blasts.
Post 1997, Tunda shuttled between Karachi, Kenya and West Asia. He travelled from Pakistan to Bangladesh over the past decade.
Before joining the ranks of the terror outfit, he ran a homoeopathic shop in the early 1980's. Sources say that though he was not directly involved in perpetrating bombings after 1998, he acted as mentor for a younger generation of Lashkar operatives, financing and organising operations across India.
(With additional information from PTI)