New Delhi: One of India's 20 most wanted terrorists, Abdul Karim Tunda, was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police from the Indo-Nepal border last night. The Delhi Police has been given a three-day custody of the wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba man, arrested with a Pakistani passport issued in January this year.
Tunda, around 70 years old and wanted in 21 cases, is accused of masterminding over 40 bomb blasts in New Delhi, Panipat, Sonepat, Ludhiana, Kanpur and Varanasi between December 1996 and January 1998 that left 21 dead and over 400 injured.
The police, in its briefing today, said that "Tunda had planned to carry out bombings in and around Delhi in 2010 at the time of the Commonwealth Games, but the plan was timely thwarted with the arrest of his accomplices who were supposed to carry out the attack."
He is also accused of involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
In the dossier handed over to Pakistan after the 26/11 attacks, Tunda ranks number 15 among the men wanted by India. The dossier claims he is close to Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks. Delhi Police also hinted at his association with Mumbai underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's gang.
According to sources, Tunda was allegedly indoctrinated into terrorist activities by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI in the eighties, which also trained him in making improvised explosive devices.
After the serial blasts, Tunda allegedly fled to Bangladesh where he came under direct command of Lashkar chief Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi. He soon became LeT's top bomb maker.
The hunt for Tunda died down in 2000 when Indian intelligence agencies believed a news item that he has been killed. He returned to the surveillance radar in August 2005 when Abdul Razzak Masood, an alleged LeT chief coordinator in Dubai arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi police, disclosed that Tunda was alive and had met him in Lahore in December 2003.
Tunda's name surfaced again in July 2006 when Kenyan police claimed to arrest him. But it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity with the arrested person being a UK national.
Sources said Tunda had been guiding the banned Students Islamic Movement of India, which later turned into Indian Mujahideen. He is also accused of motivating the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar to perpetrate attacks against the Buddhists there.