MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 April 2024

TADA court acquits Abdul Karim Tunda, 1993 blasts accused and aide of Dawood Ibrahim

The special court, however, sentenced two other accused — Irfan alias Pappu and Hameeduddin — to life imprisonment

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 01.03.24, 06:21 AM
Tunda in Ajmer on Thursday.

Tunda in Ajmer on Thursday. PTI

A special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) court in Rajasthan on Thursday acquitted Abdul Karim Tunda, 80, an alleged aide of terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and a key accused in the 1993 serial bomb blast case, citing lack of evidence.

The special court, however, sentenced two other accused — Irfan alias Pappu and Hameeduddin — to life imprisonment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Two persons were killed and several injured in the blasts on five passenger trains in Lucknow, Kanpur, Hyderabad, Surat and Mumbai on the intervening night of December 5 and 6, 1993, on the first anniversary of the Babri
Masjid demolition.

All the cases from far-off cities were clubbed and heard by the special court under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.

Sources said the CBI, which probed the cases, was planning to move a higher court against Tunda’s
acquittal.

Tunda, an alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba operative, was on Thursday brought to court in a wheelchair. Responding to questions from the media, he thanked God and his lawyers after his acquittal.

Tunda’s lawyer Shafqatullah Sultani told reporters in Ajmer that the special court did not find sufficient evidence to hold him guilty of carrying out the bomb explosions. The lawyer said since the prosecution was unable to provide sufficient evidence to prove the charges under the TADA Act, Indian Penal Code, Railways Act, Arms Act and the Explosive Substances Act, he was let off in the case.

In October 2017, a Haryana court had pronounced him guilty in the 1996 Sonepat blasts case and awarded him life imprisonment. Tunda was held guilty under Section 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 of the Explosive
Substances Act.

Suspected Lashkar bombmaker Tunda was arrested by Indian intelligence agencies in August 2013. Despite his alleged involvement in several terrorist activities, he managed to evade law enforcement agencies for many years. He was finally nabbed from Banwasa-Mahendranagar point on the India-Nepal border after he reached a Lashkar hideout in Nepal via Dubai from Karachi.

Following his arrest, Tunda faced a slew of charges related to terrorism, including conspiracy, murder and waging war against the state.

Born into a lower middle class family in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district, Tunda was allegedly radicalised after one of his relatives was burnt alive in a riot in Maharashtra’s Bhiwandi in the 1980s. Tunda had initially worked as a carpenter and scrap dealer in Delhi and Ghaziabad and later started a cloth dyeing business
in Mumbai.

He was later recruited by Pakistani spy agency ISI and moved to Pakistan where he was trained in making bombs, the police had earlier said.

Sources in the security establishment said his three wives and nine children stay in Lahore. One of Tunda’s sons, Abdul Waris, was arrested in Kashmir in the late 1990s and spent eight years in jail. Abdul is said to be a Laskar operative and is now in Pakistan.

In 2000, Indian security agencies had stopped looking for Tunda after reports said he had died in a blast in Bangladesh a couple of years earlier. But Abdul Razzak Masood, the alleged Lashkar chief coordinator in Dubai who was arrested by Delhi police in 2005, told interrogators he had come across Tunda during a visit to Pakistan in November-December 2003.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT