Tunda claims innocence, sent to four days' police custody

New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) Alleged LeT terrorist Abdul Karim Tunda Tuesday claimed innocence in a Delhi court which sent him to four days' police custody. The hearing was forced to be held in-camera after a lawyer shouted slogans against Tunda in the court.

Ahead of the hearing, a man slapped the accused while he was being taken to the courtroom by police.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja, before whom Tunda, 70, was presented, decided in the middle of the proceedings to hold in-camera hearing after an advocate shouted "Tunda is a terrorist".

The court, during the in-camera proceeding, sent the accused to four days' police custody for further interrogation. His earlier police custody ended Tuesday.

The alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist, suspected to be involved in over 40 bombings in the country, will now be presented in court Aug 24.

Tunda, the one-handed bomb maker arrested by Delhi Police near the India-Nepal border last week, told the judge that he was "innocent" and did not motivate anyone to carry out blasts, said sources.

They said that during the in-chamber hearing, Tunda told the court: "I am innocent, I used to teach Quran and in Jehad killing old people, women and children is not permissible."

The court directed police to ensure safety of Tunda, who was slapped inside the Patiala House district courts complex by a man claiming to be a member of an organisation called Hindu Sena.

Shiv Kumar Raghav, 40, slapped the terror suspect around 3.50 p.m. Raghav, along with his aide Vishnu Gupta, was detained by police.

"Tunda is a traitor, he should be hanged," Raghav was shouting after he slapped Tunda, police said.

The court also allowed the Special Cell of Delhi Police to take Tunda to another state to collect evidence in the 1994 Malviya Nagar explosives seizure case.

In the 1994 Malviya Nagar case, Tunda was declared a proclaimed offender by a city court.

Earlier when Tunda was brought inside the court room by police, a few lawyers surrounded him and tried to convince him for allowing them to represent him in the case.

Advocate M.S. Khan, however, told the judge that Tunda has already engaged him for his defence.

When the judge asked Tunda about his lawyer, he said he didn't have money to hire a lawyer. "I can't pay the money, I don't have it."

The magistrate said: "You don't have to pay money, its my duty to get you a lawyer."

Delhi-born Tunda is wanted in several criminal cases in the country and is among India's 20 top most-wanted terrorists.

In Delhi, he is wanted in 21 terror cases related to 1994, 1996 and 1998.

An aide of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim, the alleged LeT terrorist was also wanted for suspected involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

Tunda was arrested Friday in Uttarakhand's Banbasa area close to the Nepal border when he was trying to enter India.

Tunda was involved in the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings that left over 250 dead, Delhi bomb blasts of 1997-98 and serial bombings in Uttar Pradesh and also in Haryana and Punjab, police said.

Police said he trained young radicals in preparing bombs with locally available materials like urea, nitric acid, potassium chloride, nitrobenzene and sugar and planting them at crowded places.

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