Abdul Karim Tunda, one of India’s most wanted terrorists who has been arrested, has told his interrogators he was in constant touch with Pakistan’s ISI and worked closely with it and also met leaders of several anti-India outfits during his stay in that country.
A top Delhi police official while stating this on Sunday said that 70-year-old Tunda claimed during his interrogation that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim whom he met in Karachi several times stays in a safe house in Pakistan’s port city and is guarded by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
“He (Tunda) claims that Dawood first called him to meet in 2010. He says that the underworld don stays in a safe house in Karachi and is guarded by ISI. His movements is restricted and monitored by the intelligence agency,” the official said.
During his stay in Pakistan, Tunda told the police he had been in touch with organisations like ISI, LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Indian Mujahiddin (IM) and Babbar Khalsa and had been meeting people like Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Masood Azhar, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Dawood Ibrahim and several others wanted by India.
Calling the scope of his interrogation a ‘vast canvas’, the official said that Tunda, an expert bomb maker, is a bigger catch then Abu Jundal, a key Mumbai attack handler, for security agencies because of his intensive networks across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
“He has met the leaders of almost all anti-India organizations and even their small operatives. Tunda was constantly in touch with ISI and has worked with them closely,” the official said.
Tunda had an excellent network of operatives through which he sent men and material into India, the official said, adding he has been sending explosives and Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) in India.
"Walking encyclopedia of LeT"
From an expert bomb maker to a small time shopkeeper selling perfumes near Muridkee in Pakistan, Abdul Karim Tunda has claimed that top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander and Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi calls the shots in the terror outfit.
A composed 70-year-old Tunda, whom the security agencies term as a walking encyclopedia of LeT’s pan-India operations, spoke about his differences with Lakhvi during police investigations and gave instances how this cropped up in several discussions, official sources said in New Delhi.
Tunda, a close aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and one of India’s most wanted terrorists, was arrested on Friday after being on the run in several countries for 19 years.
Despite being one of the founders of LeT’s pan-India operations, Tunda’s remorse is that he could not scale the terror outfit’s hierarchy as he was termed as a spent force once he arrived in Pakistan from Bangladesh in early 2000.
He claimed that he had not been included in LeT’s “bleed India” policy strategy leaving him, his three wives which included a teen-aged Bangladeshi girl and six children virtually on the streets.
In order to earn a livelihood, Tunda, who had helped in indoctrinating many youths from India for terror activities, was given a two-storeyed house bang opposite to Markaz ul Jamaat-ul-Dawah in Muridkee of Sheikhpura district of Punjab where he used to sell perfumes.
Tunda’s fundamentalist outlook had its roots after he witnessed the 1985 riots in Mominpura area of Nagpur in Maharashtra, sources said, adding it is believed that after this incident he had started working towards preaching youths to wage war against the government.
Born in a lower middle-class family at Delhi, Tunda moved to Pilkhuwa, near the town of Ghaziabad, in his teens and later shifted to Mumbai, where he set up a business dyeing textiles after his job as a ‘Hakeem’ in the 80s failed to take off in Ghaziabad.
After his initial association with Tanzim Islahul Muslimeen (TIM), or Organisation for the Improvement of Muslims, Tunda told his investigators that he started following the belief of the Jamaat Ahl-e-Hadis’, an ideology being followed by LeT.
After fleeing to Bangladesh, Tunda married an 18-year-old girl when he was at the age of 56.
While his interrogation continues by a joint team of police and central security agencies, the sources said that he would be grilled about his meeting with Aamir Reza, founder of Indian Mujahideen and other Lashker operatives who had met him while he was in Muridkee.