A Delhi court has convicted Ariz Khan for the murder of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma in the Batla House encounter case. He was also convicted of assault, using criminal force and causing voluntary obstruction to Sharma and his team who were in discharge of their public functions on September 19, 2008.
Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav said, “The evidence adduced on record by prosecution including ocular evidence, documentary evidence and scientific evidence leaves no manner of doubt that prosecution in the instance case has successfully proved the charges framed against the accused beyond any reasonable doubt.”
Accordingly, the accused Ariz Khan was held guilty and convicted under sections 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 333 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 302 (Murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 34 (common intention) and 174A (Non-appearance in response to a proclamation) of the Indian Penal Code.
In addition to this, he was also held guilty under section 27 of the Arms Act that provides punishment for using arms. The court said, “Let the convict be heard on the point of sentence on 15.03.2021 at 12 o’clock.”
What is the case?
Serial blasts rocked New Delhi on September 13, 2008, resulting in the death of 39 persons and leaving 159 persons injured. Seeing the magnitude of the attacks, the Special Cell of Delhi Police was assigned the task of investigation and tracing the culprits.
On deployment of informants and setting up technical surveillance, on September 19, specific information was received by Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma that one Atif @ Bashir was involved in serial blasts and is residing in Batla House, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi along with his associates.
The Police decided to raid the house and asked the occupants of the flat to open the door. As none of them responded to the Police calls, the prosecution claimed that the Police team immediately entered the flat through a door that was shut but not bolted and as soon as the officials entered the flat, the occupants started firing on the police party from all sides trapping them. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and Head Constable Balwant sustained bullet injuries and were rushed to the hospital.
While one of the terrorists present in the drawing-room also sustained bullet injuries, two of them including Ariz managed to escape from the flat through the main door. Soon after, Ariz and co accused Shahzad Ahmad were declared proclaimed offenders by the Court in 2009 with Shahzad being nabbed by the Police in 2010 and Ariz in 2018.
The defense argued that the story of the prosecution was “concocted by police officials to cover up accidental firing by police causing injuries to Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and HC Balwant.”
The court of ASJ Yadav was not satisfied with the arguments and submissions of the defense. He believed that defense could not “create any dent in otherwise most reliable, credible and truth worthy testimony of said witnesses by way of their lengthy cross examination.”
“It is observed that all police officials who were part of raiding team and who deposed in the Court have fully and completely corroborated each other in material particulars and therefore, it is an open and shut case….learned defence counsel could not point out any contradiction in the depositions of police officials as regards the time of occurrence, place of occurrence, number of police officials involved and injured in the incident, number of persons involved from the side of accused and other material particulars,” he said.
On the charge of common intention of all accused persons and murder, the court remarked, “In any case, it has been proved on record that accused Ariz Khan along with his associates resorted to fire on police party in furtherance of their common intention and in the process Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and HC Balwant were injured. Therefore, the accused can be said to have entertained common intention of killing and injuring police officials with the said of Section 34 IPC.”
The court also perused the post mortem report of Inspector Mohan Chand which stated that he received two injuries, one on the shoulder and another in abdomen. The court noted that he was the first police officer to enter the flat and so, “None of these injuries could have been caused by police officials who were behind Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma as these injuries were found on the front portion of the body of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and they were caused by militants occupying the flat.”
ASJ Sandeep Yadav further observed that Ariz was identified through revelation of his name by one Md. Saif (co accused) to police officials/eye witnesses/members of raiding party immediately after occurrence.
Finally, the court also noted that Ariz was present at the place of occurrence at the time of the incident in 2008. ASJ Yadav said, “As per rightly submitted by Mr. A.T. Ansari, ld. Addl. Public Prosecutor that all bullets/empty cartridges recovered from the place of occurrence were found matching with weapons used by militants and police officials.” Voice sample reports and call detail records also confirmed Ariz’s presence in Batla House.
The arguments on sentencing would now be heard on March 15.
The judgment may be read here: