Mumbai serial blasts convict held in Kerala

Absconding Mumbai serial blasts convict Manoj Kumar Bhanwaralal Gupta alias Munna was arrested from his wife's house in Kannur district, Kerala, on Wednesday.

A special TADA court had issued an arrest warrant against Gupta in April after the Supreme Court upheld his life sentence. Gupta has been absconding since.

On receiving information linking Gupta to Kerala, the CBI alerted the Kannur police, who kept tabs on his house in Athazhakkunu, Thiruvananthapuram.

Gupta has, however, been hiding in UP and other states since April. He had gone to Kannur to meet his family once, but managed to elude the CBI. He was spotted on Tuesday night and taken into custody immediately. The Kannur police said he will be handed over to the CBI.

The police said Gupta had married a woman from Kerala in 2007. "After he was released from prison, Gupta stayed at various mosques. During one of these stays, an Imam from Kerala, in a mosque near Mumbai, arranged his marriage with a woman from Kerala," they said.

The CBI had found that Gupta, the 24th accused in the case, was a close associate of Tiger Memon, who was responsible for the Mumbai blasts. The Supreme Court held that Gupta had a key role in the conspiracy behind the blasts. The TADA court had previously acquitted Gupta of conspiracy charges in 1996.

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