Lashkar 'bomb expert' Abdul Karim Tunda held

AbdulAbdul Karim Tunda (centre) in New Delhi on Saturday. Prem nath pandey

Abdul Karim 'Tunda' — a dreaded terrorist from the 1980s, a skillful bomb-maker, and of late a talent-spotter for the Lashkar-e-Toiba — was arrested by the Delhi Police on Friday, reportedly from the Nepal border, ending a two-decade-long chase for a man believed to be involved in about 40 blasts across the country. He was today produced before a Delhi court which sent him to police custody for three days.

It is learnt that Tunda, 70, was probably under surveillance in a third country before being apprehended on the Nepal border.

Home Ministry sources said Tunda is in the list of 50 most wanted terrorists, handed over to Pakistan after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. He is also suspected to be involved in raising funds for the terror group in the Middle East, forging ties with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's network.

A resident of Pilkhuwa, near Ghaziabad, Tunda was reported to be among the first to set up an LeT module in the Indian hinterland. He was allegedly responsible for a series of blasts, starting with the 1993 Mumbai train blasts and then the spate of attacks in1996-1997 using pencil batteries as explosives. That was the first time when alerts went out about transistor bombs, toys and such material.

Before 1993, he was reportedly arrested by the Delhi Police in a robbery case.

In the recent past, Tunda is believed to have been involved in scouting for young talent to join the world of jihad and motivating them through long sermons. This work took him to several countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bangladesh and Nepal where young low-income Muslim youth could be easily tapped.

He was also allegedly involved in planning some key attacks. According to the Delhi Police, his last major attempt was an attack during the Commonwealth Games in 2010, using "an elaborate network of human traffickers and fake Indian currency couriers from Bangladesh". However, the plan reportedly failed after some of his accomplices were arrested. Tunda is reported to have told interrogators that two men he trained for the attack were arrested by the Pakistan police for some offence before the plan could be executed.

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