Batla House encounter: convict moves High Court challenging death sentence

Ariz Khan files appeal against trial court’s March 8 verdict

Ariz Khan, who was awarded the death penalty for the murder of decorated Delhi police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma in connection with the sensational 2008 Batla House encounter case, has moved the Delhi High Court challenging his conviction and sentence.

Inspector killing

Khan has filed an appeal against the trial court verdict which said the offence fell under the “rarest of the rare category” warranting the maximum sentence and Ariz be “hanged by neck” till death.

Inspector Sharma of the Delhi Police’s Special Cell was killed during the 2008 Batla House encounter between the police and the terrorists in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi following serial bomb blasts in the national capital in which 39 people died and 159 were injured.

The appeal has been filed by Ariz through advocates M.S. Khan and Quasar Khan.

The trial court had on March 8 convicted Ariz saying that it was duly proved that he and his accomplices murdered the police official and fired gunshots at him.

The trial court had, on March 15, sentenced Ariz to capital punishment and also imposed a fine of ₹11 lakh on him, making it clear that ₹10 lakh should be immediately released to the family members of Sharma.

It had termed the act of Ariz of firing on police party without any provocation as “abhorrent and brutal” and said this itself showed that he was not only a threat to the society but was also an enemy of the State.

The trial court, which had said that the convict on account of his despicable act has forfeited his right to live, held that the offence proved against Ariz was not an ordinary act but a crime against the State and while committing the offence, he acted like a “dreaded and well-trained terrorist” who does not deserve any leniency.

A trial court had sentenced Indian Mujahideen terrorist Shahzad Ahmed in July 2013 to life imprisonment in connection with the case. His appeal against the verdict has been pending in the high court.

Ariz had fled from the spot and was declared a proclaimed offender. He was arrested on February 14, 2018 and faced trial.

The court had said it has been proved on record that Ariz after the shoot-out managed to escape and run away from the spot and eluded investigating agencies for almost 10 years despite coercive process against him.

“Involvement of convict in various blast cases not only in Delhi but also in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and UP, in which hundreds of innocent people were killed and injured, further demonstrates that the convict continues to be a threat to the society and the nation,” it had added.

The court had said deadly weapons like AK-47 and two pistols were retrieved from the flat where the shoot-out took place and considering the nature of devastation that these weapons can cause, it would be safe to conclude that these weapons were kept to indulge in terrorist and anti-social activities.

“Deleterious impact of crime on social order and human psyche added to the list of aggravating circumstances. Unbearable miseries inflicted by the convict do constitute aggravating circumstance. Nature of offence and manner of committing the crime aroused extreme indignation to the society in this case,” it had said.

He was further sentenced to life imprisonment for the offence of attempt to murder.

The court had also sentenced him to three years imprisonment for voluntarily obstructing police from discharging their duty, 10 years rigorous imprisonment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to police officials, rigorous imprisonment for two years for assault of public servant and three years imprisonment for the offence under section 27 (using arms) of Arms Act.

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