Court commences hearing arguments on charges against Tunda

Court commences hearing arguments on charges against Tunda

The Delhi Police today commenced arguments on framing of charges in a special court against top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) bomb expert Abdul Karim Tunda in a case lodged in 1994 relating to recovery of explosives here.

Special Cell of Delhi Police told the court that there was circumstantial evidence against Tunda as 40 kg explosives were recovered from the house of his brother in Delhi, where he was also residing, and four other accused, who had faced the  trial earlier in the case, had also given confessional statements that they had hatched the conspiracy for terror strikes here on the instructions of Tunda.

"These accused had conspired to commit terror strikes and there are confessional statements of four co-accused against Tunda," public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan told Additional Sessions Judge Bharat Parashar.

Advocate M S Khan, who appeared for 72-year-old Tunda, argued that the material relied upon by the police against his client was only the disclosure statements of these co-accused.

He said that there was no question of conspiracy as these co-accused were earlier acquitted of the offence of criminal conspiracy by the designated court.

"When other co-conspirators have been acquitted (of the charges of conspiracy) then how can I (Tunda) be linked with it," Khan said, adding that Tunda was not charged along with the accused who had given the confessional statements.

During the hearing, the court asked the police as to how Tunda was linked with the entire conspiracy and observed that the state had not filed any appeal against acquittal of the five co-accused in December 1999 for the alleged offences under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).

"I cannot file an appeal on the judgement. State should have gone in appeal. I cannot review the judgement (of the trial court)," the judge told the police and fixed the matter for further hearing on May 15. 

During the arguments, the prosecutor said that besides the confessional statements of the four co-accused against Tunda, there was a circumstantial evidence as the explosives were recovered from the house of Tunda's brother here. He also said that Tunda was also residing at the house of his brother.

Earlier, the special cell had filed a supplementary charge sheet against Tunda saying it would further "clarify" its case regarding charges slapped under the stringent TADA.

It had said that the trial court, in its judgement passed in December 1999 against arrested accused Abdul Haq, Aftab, Abdul Wahid, Afaq and Afran Ahmad had convicted them under section 5 of Explosive Substances Act read with section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

The police, in its charge sheet, said Tunda was declared as proclaimed offender by the court earlier and in its verdict passed in December 1999 against the five arrested persons, the court had given specific observations regarding exclusion of Tunda from the order of acquittal.

It also said these arrested persons had disclosed about Tunda's involvement in the terror activities.

Tunda was arrested by the special cell on August 16 last year from the Indo-Nepal border.

Tunda, one of the 20 terrorists India had asked Pakistan to hand over after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, is currently in judicial custody in connection with various terror-related cases lodged against him.

Police had told the court that Tunda, suspected to be involved in 40 bombings in India, was declared a proclaimed offender in the case.

Police had also said five accused were arrested on January 17, 1994 and 150 kg explosives and six daggers were recovered from their possession.

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