A Delhi Court on Monday awarded death penalty to convict Ariz Khan alias Junaid in the matter relating to the Batla House encounter of 2008 where police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and two alleged terrorists were killed during the showdown between the two parties. In awarding the death sentence, the Court observed that it is a fit case falling in the "rarest of the rare" category deserving the maximum sentence under the law.
Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav pronounced the order on the sentencing of convict in the open Court.
"Convict on account of his despicable act has forfeited his right to live. After balancing mitigating circumstances against aggravating circumstances, it is concluded that it is the rarest of the rare case where convict deserves maximum sentence provided under the law. It is the level of magnitude, degree of brutality, attitude and mindset of wrongdoer behind the crime alongwith other factors which makes it a rarest of rare case. Protection of society and deterring criminal is an avowed object of law and this is required to be achieved by imprisonment appropriate sentence. The most appropriate sentence for convict like Ariz Khan will be death penalty. Interest of justice will be met if convict is awarded death penalty." The Court held while awarding death penalty to convict, Ariz Khan.
The Court also went ahead to observe that "It should not be forgotten that deadly weapons like AK-47 and two pistols were retrieved from the flat where the shoot out took place. The defence has not able to clarify as to for which purpose these deadly weapons were kept by the convict and his accomplices in the flat. Considering the nature of devastation that these weapons can cause, it will be safe to conclude that these weapons were kept in the flat with a view to indulge terrorist and anti social activities."
While observing that the natural and inescapable conclusion in the matter shows that there is no chance of reformation of the convict Ariz Khan, it was also observed by the Court that the abhorrent and brutal act of firing on policemen without any provocation shows that he is not only a threat to the society but also is an enemy of the State.
The following punishments were awarded by the Court:
1. Sentenced to death for offence of sec. 302 of IPC and fine of Rs. 10 lakhs. He shall be hanged by neck till he is dead. In default of payment of fine, convict shall undergo simple imprisonment for 6 months.
2. Convict to be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for three months for sec. 186 of IPC.
3. Sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and fine of Rs. 20,000 for sec. 333of IPC. In default of payment of fine, convict shall undergo simple imprisonment for 6 months.
4. Sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 2 years for sec. 353 of IPC.
5. Sentenced to imprisonment for life and fine of Rs. 20,000 for offence punishable under sec. 307 IPC. In default of payment of fine, convict shall undergo simple imprisonment for 6 months.
6. Sentenced to simple imprisonment of 7 years and fine of Rs. 10,000 for sec. 174A of IPC.
7. Sentenced to simple imprisonment of 3 years and fine of Rs. 50,000 for sec. 27 of Arms Act.
8. Sentences shall run consecutively.
The Court also imposed a fine of Rs. 11 lakh on the convict, out of which Rs. 10 lakhs are directed to be given to the family of deceased Inspector MC Sharma.
While the prosecution pressed for death penalty against convict Ariz Khan in the matter, the defense had sought for a lesser sentence on the grounds of parity and his age. According to the prosecution it was submitted that the "collective conscience of society" was shocked due to the brutal manner in which Inspector MC Sharma was killed while he was discharging his public functions.
Additional Public Prosecutor AT Ansari represented the State whereas Advocate MS Khan represented the convict, Ariz Khan.
The Court convicted Ariz Khan under sec. 186, 333, 353, 302, 307, 174A , 34 of IPC and 27 of Arms Act.
"It has been proved on record that on 19.09.2008 at about 11 AM at flat no. 108, L-18, Batla House, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi, accused Ariz Khan @ Junaid alongwith his associates Md.Atif Ameen & Md. Sajid (both died in the shoot out with members of raiding team) and Md.Shahzad @ Pappu (already subjected to trial and convicted) in furtherance of their common intention of all of them voluntarily obstructed deceased Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and his team in discharge of their public functions" the Court held in its judgment running 103 pages long.
About the Batla House Encounter
On the fateful day of 19th September 2008, two Indian Mujahideen terrorists namely Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid were killed during the encounter. The said encounter also claimed life of Delhi Police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma who succumbed to the bullet injuries sustained in the gunfight.
On receiving the tip, a Delhi Police's Special Cell team reached flat no. 108 of L-18 Batla House headed by Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma who was later shot by one of the accused persons.
After the said encounter, accused Ariz Khan alias Junaid was declared as a proclaimed offender after he managed to escape the site.
Ariz Khan was then arrested by the Delhi Police in 2018 from Uttarakhand's Banbasa bordering Nepal. According to the Police, Khan had acquired a Nepali citizenship card and passport under the fake identity of being one "Mohammad Salim".
A trial court had in 2013 convicted other accused namely Shahzad Ahmad, Indian Mujahideen operative, to life imprisonment for murdering constables Balwant Singh and Rajbir Singh and causing the death of Inspector MC Sharma by firing on them.
The court found Shahzad guilty of murder, attempt to murder, obstructing and assaulting public servants and grievously injuring the police officers to deter them from performing their duty.
While convicting the accused Shahzad, Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri in the judgment dated 25th July 2013 observed thus:
"It agitates in my mind that the incident in question was not a sudden confrontation between police and the assailants. The police had already a piece of information, receiving which, a raiding party was formed well in advance. Despite all this, Inspector M.C. Sharma did not wear any body protection device i.e. bulletproof jacket. Moreover, at least two members of the raiding party were having no weapon with them, despite knowing the fact that they may face firing. It is not clear whether it was merely a misadventure or lack of professionalism in Delhi Police or scarcity of weapons with Delhi police. Whatsoever it may be, it did not give any license to the occupants of a flat to fire at police persons who came there to investigate a case, merely because they were unarmed or not wearing any bulletproof jacket. They were expected to assist the police and not to attack them. Accused is thus convicted for offense punishable U/s 186/353/333/307/302/34 IPC."