Top Lashkar-e-Toiba bomb expert Abdul Karim Tunda, one of the 20 terrorists India had asked Pakistan to hand over after the 26/11 Mumbai attack, was on Tuesday discharged by a Delhi court in a case lodged against him in 1994 under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).
Additional sessions judge Neena Bansal Krishna discharged 73-year-old Tunda of the alleged offences under the provisions of TADA, Explosive Substance Act, the Arms Act and under section 120(B)(criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
However, Tunda will have to remain in jail as there are several pending cases against him. Special cell of Delhi Police had filed a chargesheet against Tunda in the case in which five accused were arrested on January 17, 1994 and 150 kg explosives and six daggers were allegedly recovered from their possession.
The trial court in its judgement in December 1999 against the five accused -- Abdul Haq, Aftab, Abdul Wahid, Afaq and Afran Ahmad -- had convicted them under the provisions of Explosive Substance Act read with section 120(B) of the IPC.
The police, in its supplementary chargesheet against Tunda, had said that he was declared a proclaimed offender by the court earlier and he was involved in various terror cases in India. Tunda was arrested by the Special Cell on August 16 2013 from the Indo-Nepal border.
During the arguments on charges, advocate M S Khan, appearing for Tunda, had argued that there was no evidence in the case and confessional statements of the other arrested accused in the case cannot be relied upon against his client.
Khan had also contended that there was no material to connect Tunda with the alleged recovery of the explosives. Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan had argued that there was a disclosure statement of other co-accused who were convicted earlier in the case under provisions of Explosive Substances Act. The Special Cell of Delhi Police had 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, in 1994.
The police had said that other accused, who had faced trial in the case, had also given confessional statements that they had hatched the conspiracy for terror strikes here on instructions of Tunda. Police had told the court that Tunda, suspected to be involved in 40 bombings in India, was declared a proclaimed offender in the case.