Alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba ideologue Abdul Karim Tunda, whose name figures in India’s list of top-20 most wanted criminals handed over to Pakistan and who has been on the run for the past two decades has finally been caught.
Described as a prized catch by security agencies, Tunda, who allegedly has links with top LeT operatives, was attempting to sneak into Indian territory when the Delhi Police Special Cell arrested him on the India-Nepal border on Friday.
The entire operation was carried out on inputs from the Central intelligence.
Seventy-year-old Tunda, according to police records, was among the first batches of Indians recruited by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence to foment terrorism and is suspected to have masterminded over 40 blasts in and outside the Capital post Babri Masjid demolition in 1993.
A master in configuration of improvised explosive devices using household goods, Tunda allegedly rose, over the years, in the LeT hierarchy from being a bomb trainer to a preacher of terrorism. In Delhi, he is wanted in 21 cases of terror strikes during 1994-98, including the one outside the police headquarters at ITO in January 1998 that left 50 injured. He is also wanted in the 1993 Mumbai train serial blasts case.
Tunda was entering the country via Banwasa-Mehendarnagar border with Nepal when Special Cell men in plainclothes swooped on him around 3 p.m. A Pakistani passport issued in the name of Abdul Quddus on January 23, 2013, and carrying his photograph, was seized from his possession. Investigators suspect that days after Pakistan-based LeT chief Hafiz Saeed recently issued threats of another round of terror strikes in India, Tunda boarded a flight to Nepal from Karachi. Intelligence sources said he was apprehended in coordination with the Nepalese agencies and handed over to the Special Cell. What prompted Tunda to cross over to India is a matter of investigation, said Special Commissioner of Police S.N. Srivastava on Saturday.