A day after the court verdict in the 2008 Batla House encounter case,defence lawyers pointed to what they called lacunae in the judgment while the prosecutor said that everything needed to be proved against accused Shahzad Ahmad was done. He will be sentenced on Monday.
He was only being tried for the incident of the encounter,not for terrorism. We were only required to prove his presence at the scene of the shootout,which we have done, Additional Public Prosecutor Satwinder Kaur said. She was appointed special prosecutor in the case last year.
Defence counsel Satish Tamta and the Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA) said the court failed to address a number of issues raised by the defence and simply reiterated the prosecution version.
On Thursday,Shahzad was held guilty of charges of acting with common intent of murder,attempt to murder,obstructing police officer in discharge of duty and other charges arising out of the encounter case.
Delhi Police Special Cell Inspector M C Sharma was killed and Head Constables Balwant and Rajbir were injured in the firing at Batla House on September 19,2008 six days after serial blasts,blamed on the Indian Mujahideen,rocked the Capital.
Satwinder Kaur said the prosecution case was tailored according to what was needed to be proved in the case. When the police party entered the house,all the occupants started firing at them. Under Section 34 IPC,they are liable for actions of each other. We have not said that Shahzad himself shot M C Sharma,we are saying that one of the men shooting at the police party killed him, Satwinder Kaur said.
She said the case had been proved beyond reasonable doubt and the prosecution would press for maximum punishment since Shahzad had been convicted of murder and attempted murder charges.
The defence said the judgment did not address several issues. Advocate Satish Tamta said that written arguments submitted by him had not found mention in the judgment.
We were expecting a long,well-reasoned judgment. This is only a 46-page judgment which only mentions two or three of the questions we raised, Tamta said.
Advocate S Qamar,who had been representing Shahzad and the Association for Welfare,Medical Educational and Legal Assistance,said the defence was disappointed with the order… have hopes from the High Court.
Qamar said the defence would file an appeal as soon as possible. Shahzads father who lives in Saudi Arabia is expected to return soon, he said.
The defence pointed out that bullets allegedly fired from the gun used by Shahzad were never found. All pellets and empty shells found at the house have been matched by the CFSL with the arms found there or with the police guns. Where are the bullets that Shahzad supposedly fired, Tamta asked.
According to the prosecution,Shahzad fled from the house with the gun. Police claimed that Shahzad had told them that he had thrown the gun into the Gang Nehar.
The defence also questioned the observation that Shahzad could have fled by pretending to be a resident of the building. All prosecution witnesses have denied seeing anyone enter or exit the building when the shootout started. The court ignored the statements of the police witnesses, Tamta said.
The JTSA expressed disappointment over the verdict. The defence had appealed to the judge to visit the area but the court declined and said the argument that escaping from the house was difficult had already been accepted. The so-called escape was the weakest link in the police story but the court accepted it, Manisha Sethi,JTSA president,said.