A Delhi court on Monday awarded the death penalty to Ariz Khan, the convict in the Batla House encounter case, for the murder of inspector Mohan Chand Sharma in 2008. The court also imposed a total fine of Rs 11 lakh on Ariz Khan. The court said Rs 10 lakh should be immediately released to the family members of Sharma.
During the hearing, the police sought the death penalty for Khan, who is allegedly associated with 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.
Additional Public Prosecutor A T Ansari, appearing for the police, said the case attracts exemplary punishment, which is capital punishment. Khan's counsel opposed the death penalty.
The court had said on March 8 that it was "duly proved that Ariz Khan and his associates caused the murder of the police official and fired gunshot at the police official.â€ť Inspector Sharma of the police's special cell was killed during the 2008 Batla House encounter in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi.
Holding that it was an open and shut case, 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 accused beyond any reasonable doubt.
â€śIt has been proved on record that on the aforesaid date, time and place accused Ariz Khan alias Junaid, along with his associates Md. Atif Ameen and Md. Sajid (both died in the shoot-out with members of raiding team) and Md. Shahzad alias Pappu (already subjected to trial and convicted) in furtherance of common intention of all of them intentionally and knowingly committed murder by causing death of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma by firearm,â€ť the judge had held in a 103-page judgement.
The judgment had assumed importance as Congress leader Digvijay Singh had voiced his doubts over the police claims about the encounter and Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had also demanded a judicial inquiry into the matter. However, the Congress party had distanced itself from Singhâ€™s comments, who later in 2016 had also claimed that there was no evidence to prove the guilt of the accused arrested in the matter and had asked the central government to order a judicial probe into the encounter by dubbing it as "fake".
Inspector Sharma of the Special Cell of Delhi Police was killed during the encounter which took place a week after five serial blasts had hit the national capital on September 13, 2008 in which at least 30 people were killed and over 100 injured. After the encounter of September 19, 2008, protest rallies were organised against it by teachers and students of Jamia Millia Islamia University.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which had conducted an inquiry in the case on the direction of the Delhi High Court, gave a clean chit to Delhi Police. Two suspected terrorists, Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid were killed while two other suspects â€” Mohammad Saif and Zeeshan were arrested earlier.