According to a senior police official, 27-year-old Sheikh, who was the logistics man and hawala router of the banned terror organisation, had fled to Nepal after the arrest of Yasin Bhatkal last year and had been hiding there since then.

"He was recently asked by his Pakistan-based handlers Riyaz Bhatkal and Mohsin Chowdhary to reach Delhi. He was specifically asked to do break journeys and not directly go to Delhi to avoid being traced. He was instructed to reach the national capital via Lucknow, Moradabad and Saharanpur. He was supposed to get further orders after reaching Delhi," the official said.

Although Sheikh has claimed that the person(s) he was supposed to meet and activities he was supposed to carry out after reaching Delhi was to be revealed to him only at the last moment, investigators believe that given his role in IM, he was supposed to provide money to some sleeper cell operatives of IM through the hawala route.

That money could have been used to plan a terror strike in the national capital.

Police are now trying to find out who the people are whom Sheikh met while journeying through Lucknow and Moradabad. It is also being investigated where he stayed in these cities and for how long.

"It is also being investigated who his contacts were in Saharanpur and Delhi whom he was supposed to meet," the official said.

Sheikh has revealed that his main role was to provide funds to IM operatives which he used to get through foreign money transfers using fake identity cards made by him. In the past, he has provided bulk cash to people like Yasin Bhatkal, Tehsin Akhtar, Assadullah Akhtar alias Haddi and Waqas (all arrested).

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