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Batla House 2008 encounter convict Ariz Khan awarded death penalty

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Describing it to be a “rarest of rare case” for the killing of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma during 2008 Batla House encounter, a Delhi court on Monday, awarded the convict Ariz Khan death penalty with a fine of Rs 11 lakh, out of which Rs 10 lakh will be given to the family of the deceased policeman as compensation

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One of the associates of terror outfit, Indian Mujahideen, Khan was sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav. While demanding the death penalty, the prosecution had argued that the convict is a “menace to the society and would continue to be so, threatening its peaceful and harmonious coexistence.”

Additional Public Prosecutor AT Ansari, representing Delhi Police, told the court that this was a gruesome murder of a law enforcement officer and defender of justice while discharging his lawful public duty, and therefore, a serious exercise must be undertaken for determining the quantum of sentence.

“If police officers are allowed to be murdered by the designer of murder and law does not express its strongest condemnation by way of extreme penalties, then justice to those who are called up to defend justice would fail. This facet of social justice in certain circumstances demands death penalty,” Ansari told the court, adding that the accused has been convicted of killing an on-duty police officer, and attempting to murder another police personnel, Head Constable Balwant, who was also discharging his duties. “This peculiar fact of the case undoubtedly brings the case in the category of the rarest of the rare and calls for only the death penalty, as it shook the conscience of the society,” Ansari said in his court address.

Meanwhile, advocate MS Khan, appearing for Ariz Khan, opposed the death penalty and said the incident was not premeditated.

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Whereas, the court on March 8 had observed that the convict was a that it was “trained criminal” and not “an ordinary individual and that “he and his associates caused the murder of police official and fired gunshot on the police official”.

Ariz has six pending cases against him in Delhi, all these are cases are related to the Delhi bomb blasts and a NIA case related to the larger conspiracy, where trial is underway. Furthermore, there are multiple cases lodged against him in multiple states, in which he is yet to be arrested.

Coming back to today’s hearing, the prosecution contended that while the accused was “involved in several bomb blasts in Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and UP, in which several innocent citizens of this country were killed, convict still continued to commit a murder of police officer.”

The prosecution argued that the “suffering of the family of the victim is also an important factor which needs to be given due weightage while determining the quantum of punishment to be awarded to the convict.”

Khan, who was absconding for a decade to avoid police arrest was finally nabbed by the Delhi Police Special Cell in 2018, and has been convicted under sections of 302( Punishment for murder), 307 (Attempt to murder), 333 (voluntarily causing grevious hurt to deter public servant in the discharge of his duty), 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353(Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 174-(a) (Non-appearance in response to a proclamation under section 82 of Act 2 of 1974) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code IPC and under sections 27 Arms Act.

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For the uninitiated, on September 13, 2008, serial blasts had rocked the National capital, in which 39 persons were killed and 159 injured. On September 19, Inspector Mohan Chand Sharm got tip-off that the persons involved in the blast, alleged to be Indian Mujahideen members, were residing at a building in Batla House in Jamia Nagar.

As the police team broke into the house, they were fired upon, and Sharma died in the encounter. Two accused persons sustained bullet injuries and died during treatment, while the two others managed to escape. One of the accused, Shahzad Ahmad, was arrested in 2010 and was awarded life imprisonment in 2013.

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