Top Lashkar-e-Taiba bomb expert Abdul Karim Tunda was today remanded in four days' police custody by a court here in connection with various bomb blast cases in 1997 and for allegedly helping Pakistani nationals to infiltrate into India.
The Special Cell of Delhi Police produced Tunda before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal and sought 10 days' custody for interrogation, saying it had to establish the source of explosives which were provided to various Pakistani nationals arrested in 1998 in connection with 37 bomb blasts.
Police told court that the bomb blasts had taken place in 1997 in Delhi and adjoining areas and 20 cases had been registered over those.
"Contacts of the accused (Tunda), who helped in illegal infiltration of Pakistani nationals arrested in present case, are to be located/verified. Source of explosives is to be established.
"Accused belongs to Pilkhua, Uttar Pradesh, from where the recovery of explosives was effected, and he is to be interrogated thoroughly in this regard," the special cell told the court.
Advocate MS Khan, appearing for Tunda, opposed the police plea saying most of the accused arrested earlier in connection with these 20 cases had been acquitted as the recovery of explosives was not established.
Khan also argued that there was no evidence to show that those arrested earlier had been in touch with Tunda.
During the day, Tunda, who is to be in police custody till tomorrow in connection with a separate case lodged in 1994, was also produced before Additional Sessions Judge Dharmesh Sharma.
Sharma remanded Tunda to judicial custody till September 21 after police said he was not required for further custodial interrogation in connection with the 1994 case.
On September 3, Tunda was produced in court and remanded in five days' police custody after the Special Cell said he had to be interrogated at length to unearth anti-national activities being plotted by the accused and his associates.
Tunda, 70, was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital on August 22 after he complained of chest pain and was shifted to AIIMS a day later. He was discharged on September 3.
Police had submitted that during his earlier custodial interrogation, Tunda had said he had procured the explosives from a shop in Tilak Bazaar in Old Delhi.
They said Tunda was to be interrogated about the source of the oil procured by him which was recovered from the shop of his brother Abdul Haq. The oil was to be used for making improvised explosive devices (IEDs), they said.
Tunda was arrested from the Indo-Nepal border at Banbasa on August 16. He was earlier remanded in police custody for questioning in connection with 37 bomb blast cases across the country.
He had been declared a proclaimed offender in a case in which Special Cell had arrested three alleged terrorists, Aftab, Abdul Haq and Abdul Wahid, on January 17, 1994, for allegedly planning terror strikes in the national capital on the occasion of Republic Day.
Another case against him, lodged in 1994, is in connection with the recovery of explosive substances at south Delhi's Malviya Nagar under the provisions of the stringent anti-terror law, TADA.
Police said the three terrorists were arrested in Delhi on January 17, with 150kg explosives and six daggers having been recovered from their possession.
They claimed Tunda has admitted to his involvement in several bomb blast incidents in Delhi and other states.
These terrorists were planning a series of explosions in Delhi on January 26, 1994, police had said, adding that on January 20 of the same year, two more persons — Aafaq Khan and Irfan Ahmed, too, were arrested.
Tunda had earlier told court that he was "innocent" as he had not motivated anyone to kill women and children through bombs.
Tunda is one of the 20 terrorists India had asked Pakistan government to hand over after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
He is suspected to be involved in 40 bombings in the country. He is the first on the list to be arrested.
Police, in its remand application, said that during his custodial interrogation, Tunda had spoken about his involvement in the present case, which was lodged in 1998.
"Tunda disclosed he had facilitated the accused persons (Pakistani nationals) arrested in the present case in their infiltration into India, illegally with the help of Allaudin and Mohd Zakaria.
"Both Allaudin and Zakaria are in judicial custody at Presidency Jail, Kolkata.
"Their production warrants have already been issued by this court with the direction that the accused be produced on or before September 16, 2013," police said.
Police told court that two Bangladeshi nationals were arrested on February 27, 1998.
Abdul and Mati-ur-Rehman were arrested and one hand grenade each was recovered from them besides other incriminating material.
During interrogation, they had admitted to their involvement in various terror strikes and said that it was Tunda who had helped them infiltrate into India.
During investigation, 11 others, including various Pakistani nationals, were also arrested. They are Mohd Amir Khan, Mohd Shakeel, Abdul Baqi, Abdul Rehman, Maqsood Ahmed, Mohd Azaz, Mohd Husain, Himam Shekh, Mohd Umar, Mohd Safiqul and Abdul Qasim.
Explosives and other incriminating material were also recovered from their possession, police said.
The arrested accused had spoken about Tunda's involvement and he was declared a proclaimed offender in various bomb blast cases, they said.