LeT's top bomb expert Abdul Karim alias Tunda, who was arrested by Delhi police on Friday, had his first brush with explosives at the age of 12 years.
Tunda's association with bombs can be gauged by the fact that his left hand got severed in an accident while he was preparing a bomb, and this later earned him a feared nickname 'Tunda'.
Born in 1943 in Daryaganj area in Delhi, Tunda told his interrogators that at the age of around 10-12 years, a small time vendor used to come in his locality on a bicycle to sell 'Churan'.
In order to attract kids, the vendor used to show a magic trick.
"Tunda told us that the vendor would put some 'Churan' on a stick followed by a Safedi (some white substance) and as soon as it touched it with a certain liquid, it would catch fire in a flash," said a police official.
This mesmerised everybody, but young Tunda was curious about what was behind this trick.
He later found out that it was 'Potash' on which the safedi (sugar) was put and the liquid was some sort of acid. When the three met it led to a flash flame, the official said.
However, after around 30 years, when Tunda joined Jehadi forces in 1985 after some of his relatives were killed in communal riots in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra and he wanted to strike back, he remembered the old trick and started experimenting with Sugar, Potash and Sulphuric Acid, police said.
"He kept experimenting with these materials and finally learnt to make a bomb. Later, in Mumbai, Tunda met and befriended one Jalees Ansari. Tunda then taught Ansari to make bombs who later earned the dubious distinction of being 'Dr Bomb'," said a senior police official.
Tunda, a close aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and one of India's most wanted terrorists, was arrested on Friday after being on the run in several countries for 19 years.
Both Tunda and Ansari constituted their own Tanzeem namely 'Tanzeem Islah-ul-Muslimeen (Islamic Armed Organisation for the Improvement of Muslims).
In 1993, Tunda and Ansari had set off a series of explosions in Mumbai and Hyderabad and seven separate bomb blasts on trains. After Ansari's arrest in January 1994, Tunda fled to Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, police said.
Tunda returned from Dhaka to India to mastermind the deadly 1996-1998 blasts. In almost all the blasts in Delhi during 1996-98, Tunda's men, who were from Pakistan and Bangladesh, had detonated bombs.
He had carried out 24 explosions in Delhi, 5 in Haryana and 3 explosions in UP on the instructions of Tunda.
The CBI had charged Tunda with organising LeT's major terror attacks outside of Jammu and Kashmir -- a series of 43 bombings in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Rohtak and Jalandhar in which over 20 persons were killed and over 400 injured.