Liyaqat Shah was specially recruited by Pakistan-based terror masterminds to help them carry out a major attack here sometime next week, Delhi Police said.
According to sources, Liyaqat Shah was supposed to recce the crowded markets in Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh where the Hizbul Mujahideen planned to send 'fidayeen' squads sometime in the near future. India Gate and at least two shopping malls were among the intended targets, police sources said.
Liyaqat Shah has revealed during his interrogation that his handlers entrusted him with the task of assisting the 'fidayeen' squads in their deadly mission, the sources added.
The Hizbul operative was nabbed by a special police team on Mar 20 as soon as he reached Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh on his way from Nepal. Raids at a guest house in the Jama Masjid area here led to the discovery of explosives, an AK-56 rifle and grenades on Mar 21.
Investigators believe that the arms and ammunition were to be used in a 'fidayeen' attack before Holi or on the day when the 'Festival of Colours' is celebrated with much gaiety.
However, police officials in Jammu and Kashmir denied that Liyaqat Shah was part of any terrorist module. "We knew about Shah's return. He is not an active militant. He was returning home with his wife and his 19-year-old daughter. Even the Intelligence Bureau knew about his return. We had told Delhi police not to take any action," an official said.
The Indo-Asian News Service quoted Liyaqat Shah's first wife Ameena Begum as saying that he "was coming home under the state government's rehabilitation policy" for reformed militants. She claimed that Shah had often told her about his desire to come back from Pakistan.
"We filed an application with the authorities in Kupwara district requesting that Liyaqat be allowed to return home under the rehabilitation policy. The authorities accepted our request and said he must return to India via Nepal and thereafter he would be helped to re-join his family. Now we are hearing that police have arrested him in Delhi with some weapons," Ameena rued.
OneIndia News (with agency inputs)