Abdul Karim Tunda at Delhi Police special cell in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI photo)
Abdul Karim Tunda, the Delhi-born, one-handed extremist who was in the list of top 20 terrorists wanted by India and was allegedly involved in around 40 bombings in the country, was arrested near the India-Nepal border, Delhi Police said Saturday.
An aide of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim and an operative of Lashkar-e-Taiba who was also wanted for suspected involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, he was arrested Friday around 3 p.m. in Uttarakhand's Banbasa area close to the Nepal border when he was trying to enter India.
Tunda, 70, was presented in a Delhi court which sent him to three days' police custody for interrogation.
He got the moniker Tunda - Hindi for without a hand - after his left hand got severed in an accident while he was preparing a bomb in 1985 in Mumbai.
"He was carrying a Pakistani passport number AC 4413161 issued Jan 23 in the name of Abdul Quddus," Special Commissioner of Police S.N. Srivastava told media persons.
Tunda is wanted in several criminal cases in the country and is among India's 20 top most-wanted terrorists, police said.
In Delhi, he is wanted in 21 terror cases dating back to 1994, 1996 and 1998.
Tunda had also tried to set off bombs in 2010 just before the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, according to police.
"Tunda is closely associated with LeT and ISI in Pakistan," Srivastava said.
Police received a tip-off from intelligence agencies about two weeks back that Tunda will try to sneak into India from Nepal.
Tunda, an LeT explosive expert, is allegedly involved in the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings that left over 250 dead, Delhi bomb blasts of 1997-98 and serial bombings in Uttar Pradesh and also in Haryana and Punjab.
Police said he trained young radicals in preparing bombs with locally available materials like urea, nitric acid, potassium chloride, nitrobenzene and sugar and planting them at crowded places.
Tunda, who was born in 1943 in Delhi's Daryaganj area, is also wanted in several cases of bomb attacks in trains in Hyderabad, Gulbarga, Surat and Lucknow.
He allegedly worked with terror operatives like Hafiz Saeed, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Wadhawa Singh, Ratandeep Singh, and Karachi-based Indian Mujahideen absconders Abdul Aziz alias Bada Sajid.
Soon after his birth, Tunda along with his family had shifted to their native village in Bazaar Khurd area in Pilkhuwa in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad district. Tunda lived here with his wife till 1992.
Five years back, Tunda, then 65, got married for the third time to a 18-year-old girl in Pakistan.
Tunda worked as a carpenter, scrap dealer and cloth merchant till the age of 40, before becoming a radicalised jehadi militant, police said.
Following the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 in Uttar Pradesh, Tunda floated a radical organisation in Mumbai, police said.
In January 1994, Tunda fled to Bangladesh capital Dhaka where he started training jehadis in bomb making, police said.
Investigators said Tunda also trained terror operatives in making improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Tunda's two Bangladeshi students, Mato-ur Rehman and Akbar alias Haroon, were arrested from Sadar Bazar railway station in Delhi in February 1998. Police later arrested 24 other members of the "module".
For some years Tunda lay low and investigators thought he had died in a blast in Bangladesh in 2000.
Five years later, Abdul Razzak Masood, an alleged LeT chief coordinator in Dubai, arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, however, told investigators that Tunda was alive and he met him in Lahore in December 2003.
In 2008, Tunda alias Abdul Quddus figured in the list of terrorists which India handed over to Pakistan after the 26/11 attack on Mumbai. This list includes people like Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, and Dawood Ibrahim.
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