NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Monday awarded death sentence to Ariz Khan, convicted for the murder of police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and other offences in connection with the 2008 Batla House encounter. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 11 lakh on Khan and directed Rs 10 lakh be immediately released to deceased inspector Sharma’s family.
During the hearing, the police sought the death penalty for Khan, a suspected member of the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, saying it was not just any killing but a murder of a law enforcement officer who was a defender of justice.
On March 8, the Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav had convicted Khan stating that the evidence produced by the prosecution duly proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge had said that it was “duly proved that Ariz Khan and his associates caused murder of police official and fired gunshot on the police official.”
“The evidence adduced on record, including ocular, documentary and scientific, prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Khan along with accomplices with common intention obstructed inspector Sharma in discharging public function,” the court had said.
“Khan, along with his accomplices, also fired gunshots at head constables Balwant and Balvir Singh,” the court had said.
During the encounter in Batla House at Jamia Nagar in south Delhi on September 19, 2008, two suspected terrorists, identified as Atif Amin and Mohammed Sajid, were killed while Inspector Sharma of Special Cell received gun shot during the encounter and later died. Three other terrorists identified as Ariz Khan and Shahzad escaped while Mohammad Saif surrendered to the police.
The encounter had taken place within a week of 2008 Delhi serial blasts that had killed 30 people. Blasts had taken place at Karol Bagh, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash and India Gate. The Delhi police received intelligence about terrorists hiding at L-18 flat in Batla House locality.
Later, Shahzad Ahmed was also arrested in 2010 and a trial court in July 2013 had sentenced him to life imprisonment in connection with the case. His appeal against the trial court’s verdict has been pending in the high court.
Khan, a native of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested by the Delhi police's Special Cell in February 2018.
The multiple bombings that rocked cities like Jaipur and Ahmedabad, apart from the national capital itself, in 2008, saw 165 people losing their lives and over 500 injured in all. A reward of Rs 15 lakh had been declared on Khan, besides an Interpol Red Corner Notice.