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Explained: Batla House encounter and Ariz Khan’s conviction

A Delhi court has awarded the death sentence to Ariz Khan, who was convicted for the murder of a police inspector in the Batla House encounter case of 2008. A recap of the encounter, the trial and the case

Written by Sofi Ahsan , Edited by Explained Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: March 16, 2021 7:20:30 am
Ariz Khan had been on the run for a decade before he was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell in 2018. (File Photo)

A Delhi court Monday awarded the death sentence to Ariz Khan, who was convicted last week for the murder of police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma in the Batla House encounter case of 2008. The encounter had taken place in September 2008 between the Delhi police’s Special Cell and Indian Mujahideen operatives at Batla House in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar just days after a serial blast had rocked the national capital, in which at least 26 people were killed and 133 injured. The court on Monday held it to be the rarest of rare case.

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The encounter

Five bombs had exploded on September 13, 2008 at Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Greater Kailash and India Gate, leading to registration of five cases. The Indian Mujahideen had taken responsibility for the blasts. A team under the supervision of Inspector Sharma was set up to probe the case and trace the perpetrators. The encounter took place on September 19 after the police received information about the presence of suspects at a flat in Batla House. The police had conducted the raid at the flat to trace and look out for a user of one mobile number.

When the police tried to enter the flat, a gunfight ensued leading to injuries to Inspector Sharma and Head Constable Balwant Singh.

The IM opertaives Mohd Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid, who got injured during the gunfight, were declared brought dead at AIIMS hospital later. Inspector Sharma also succumbed to injuries. Shahzad Ahmad and Ariz Khan allegedly escaped from the site. Mohd Saif surrendered before the police.

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The trial

The police, after completion of the investigation, had filed chargesheet against Mohd Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid – both of them had died in the encounter – Ariz Khan and Shahzad Ahmad. No offence was made out against Mohd Saif, who was one of the occupants of the flat..

Shahzad was arrested in 2010 by ATS Lucknow and allegedly made a disclosure statement. He was arrested from the house of his grandfather in Azamgarh. He was convicted in 2013 by the Saket Court..

When was Ariz Khan arrested?

Khan had been on the run for a decade before he was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell in 2018. Khan, according to the police, was arrested on the information of one Abdul Subhan Qureshi, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts, from Uttarakhand. The court last week held that he was a “trained criminal” and not “an ordinary individual”. The police had earlier announced a reward of Rs 5 Lakh for information about him. He was also on the radar of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which had announced a reward of Rs 10 Lakh.

Khan is also facing six other cases in Delhi where the trial is still pending. During the trial, Khan last month told the court that he has nothing to say apart from what his counsel has argued. He also alleged that he has been falsely implicated in the case. The prosecution on Monday prayed for his death penalty.

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