Delhi court awards death penalty to Ariz Khan for killing inspector in Batla House encounter

Usha Rani Das
·5-min read

New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) A Delhi court Monday awarded death penalty to Ariz Khan for the murder of decorated Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma in connection with the sensational 2008 Batla House encounter case, saying the offence fell under the 'rarest of rare category' warranting the maximum sentence.

The court termed the act of Ariz Khan of firing on police party without any provocation as “abhorrent and brutal” and said this itself showed that he was not only the threat to the society but was also an enemy of the state. Inspector Sharma of the police's special cell was killed during the Batla House encounter between the police and alleged terrorists in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi following serial bomb blasts in the national capital in which 39 people died and 159 were injured.

Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav said convict Ariz 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 a rarest of the rare case where convict deserves maximum sentence provided under the law. It is the level of magnitude, decree of brutality, attitude and mindset of wrong doer behind the crime along with other factors which makes it a rarest of the rare case. 'Protection of society and deterring criminal is an avowed object of law and this is required to be achieved by imprisonment of 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 said in its order.

It said 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.

It imposed a total fine of Rs 11 lakh on Ariz in the case. It said Rs 10 lakh should be immediately released to the family members of Sharma.

'I feel the fine of Rs 10 lakh is insufficient. Hence, I am referring the matter to Delhi Legal Services Authority for award of additional compensation,' the judge further said.

The court said it has been proved on record that convict after the shootout managed to escape and run away from the spot and eluded investigating agencies for almost 10 years despite coercive process against him. 'Convict (Ariz) was declared proclaimed offender way back in the year 2009 and was ultimately arrested in 2018. There is no evidence on record that convict during investigation or trial showed any signs of reformation or repentance. Thus, the natural and inescapable conclusion is that there is no chance of reformation of convict,' it noted.

'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 convict continues to be a threat to the society and the nation,' it added.

The court said deadly weapons like AK-47 and two pistols were retrieved from the flat where the shootout 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 convict do constitute aggravating circumstance. Nature of offence and manner of committing the crime aroused extreme indignation to the society in this case,' it said.

The court further sentenced Ariz to life imprisonment for the offence of attempt to murder. It also sentenced him to three years imprisonment for voluntarily obstructing police form 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.

Additional Public Prosecutor A T Ansari, appearing for the police, sought death penalty for Ariz, allegedly associated with the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), saying it was not just any killing but a murder of a law enforcement officer who was a defender of justice.

Ansari said the case attracts exemplary punishment, which is capital punishment.

He further said a police officer was killed while discharging his public duty. 'Ariz along with others was carrying deadly weapons which clearly suggests that they were ready to kill anybody in any eventuality. They were the first to fire without any provocation,' the public prosecutor said. He added that widespread concerns were raised after the incident regarding the safety of police officers.

'Collective conscience of the society was shocked because of the crime committed. It instilled fear in the minds of the common people,' Ansari said.

Advocate M S Khan, appearing for Ariz, opposed the death penalty and said the incident was not premeditated.

Khan sought life imprisonment on the ground of parity with Shahzad Ahmed who was sent to jail for life in the case. A trial court had sentenced the IM terrorist in July 2013 and his appeal against the verdict has been pending in the high court.

The court had said on March 8 that it was 'duly proved that Ariz Khan and his associates caused murder of police official and fired gunshot on the police official'. PTI URD SJK SA