New Delhi, Mar 15 (ILNS) A Delhi Court today sentenced Indian Mujahideen terrorist Ariz Khan, convicted for his role in the killing of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma during the Batla House encounter of September, 2008, to be hanged till death, since it was the rarest of the rare cases, where death penalty can be given.
Saket District Court Additional Session Judge Sandeep Yadav imposed a penalty of Rs 11 lakh on Ariz Khan and asked him to pay Rs 10 lakh to the family of Delhi Police Special Cell Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and the remaining Rs one lakh to the state. However, the court said it doesn’t consider the compensation of Rs 10 lakh as sufficient and hence, the issue is referred for the consideration of DSLSA.
Additional Public Prosecutor AT Ansari, appearing for the state, sought death sentence for Ariz Khan. He submitted, “It is a matter of law enforcement officer, it is a murder of Defender of justice. Here is a case where a police officer was killed while discharging his duty. They were carrying arms and ammunitions, which clearly suggest they were ready to kill any individual and that is what they did. There was no provocation from the side of the police officer and there was another attempt to kill a constable as well.”
The encounter had resulted in Inspector MC Sharma’s death and injuries to several other police personnel. Batla House is a locality in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar, where an encounter between the Delhi police and alleged terrorists took place on September 19, 2008. The terrorists were suspected to be the members of terror outfit, Indian Mujahideen.
Two suspected terrorists, identified as Atif Amin and Mohammed Sajid, were killed in the Batla House encounter. Delhi Police’s Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma received gun shot during the encounter and died. Three suspected operatives, identified as Ariz Khan, Shahzad and Junaid, escaped. One IM operative Mohammad Saif surrendered to the police.
Police launched a manhunt for the escaped terrorists. In January 2010, Shahzad was arrested from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh. Three months later in April 2010, police filed a charge sheet, saying the encounter took place as the Delhi police followed the lead in the serial blasts case.
Years later in 2018, Ariz Khan was arrested from Banbasa at India-Nepal border. The third terrorist to escape Junaid was declared a proclaimed offender. The Delhi police filed another charge sheet in February, 2011 against Shahzad. He was convicted of the murder of Mohan Chand Sharma and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 by the trial court.
MS Khan, Counsel for Ariz, arguing over the principle of parity, submitted, “It is similar in all respects to the case of the co-accused. Earlier in 2013, co-accused Shahzad had been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the case.”
However, the prosecution argued, “Distinction has to be drawn between a murder and murder of a police officer discharging his duty. The punishment of the conviction has to be in accordance with the seriousness of the offence and suffering of the victim. This court is also requested to consider the perception of the society, while deciding the quantum of the punishment.”
On March 8, ASJ Yadav had convicted 35-year-old Khan aka Junaid, Salim, and Anna for Sharma’s murder. The court held Khan guilty of murder, attempt to murder, obstructing public servant on duty, causing grievous hurt and non-appearance. Khan was pronounced a Proclaimed Offender (PO) in 2009 and was arrested after being on the run for 10 years.
The gunfight took place days after five serial blasts in Delhi on September 13, 2008, in which at least 30 people were killed and over 100 injured. Inspector Sharma of the special cell reportedly had specific tip-off about terrorists involved in the blasts hiding in flat no 108, L-18 of Batla House in Jamia Nagar. ILNS/ANB/SNG/JR