Wanted terrorist Abdul Karim Tunda — who had met Hafiz Saeed and his then motely band of only five men way back in 1991 — has told his interrogators that the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is flush with cash from the Pakistani diaspora and Gulf and enjoys the patronage of the Islamabad regime.
Karachi-based Tunda was picked up by counter-terror agencies from north Nepal around August 15 and was brought to India via the Uttarakhand border on Friday evening.
Top government sources said the 72-year-old veteran of Pakistan-supported jehad against India was picked up after he had come to Nepal to get funds for his madarasa in Bin Qasim town in Karachi.
Tunda told his interrogators that he had trained anti-India jehadi leaders such as Azam Ghouri of Hyderabad, Dr Jalees Ansari of Maharashtra and Abdul Bari of Andhra Pradesh.
He has also confessed to his involvement in the 1994 bomb blast in Malviya Nagar and the 1997 explosion in Punjabi Bagh, sources said.
A resident of Pilakhuwa in Ghaziabad district, Tunda was booked in a robbery case in 1968, the arms act in 1975 and then under TADA in 1994.
Known to all Lashkar commanders as well as co-founders of the Indian Mujahideen, Tunda has 33 cases against him in north India and another seven cases in Hyderabad and other parts of the country.
Tunda said he worked for the Lashkar between 1994 and 2003 after which he split from the group due to differences with Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi over funds.
“Tunda was picked up by the ISI towards the end of 2003 and kept for six months in detention. He moved to Karachi in 2004 and has not been in touch with the group since then. He is a mine of information about Lashkar as he used to run a perfumery shop outside the main gate of LeT headquarters at Muridke in Lahore,” said a counter-terror expert.
While Tunda has been on the Indian radar since the 1990s, he came into focus again after he was found to be involved in indoctrinating Rohingya Muslims in Arakan state of Myanmar last year and his frequent visits to Bangladesh.
His presence in jihadi activities was last confirmed by Sheikkh Abdul Khaja, a Lashkar member who was picked up by Indian agencies in Colombo in January 2010.