A Delhi court convicted Ariz Khan who was a long-time absconder in the Batla House encounter case under sec. 186, 333, 353, 302, 307, 174A, 34 of IPC, and 27 of Arms Act while the sentencing will be given out on a later date. Thirty-five-year-old Khan was arrested by the Special Cell of the city police in February 2018 after being on the run for 10 years. Inspector Mohan Sharma was killed in action during the encounter and later on posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra.
The court was convinced with the veracity of the prosecution’s case, the judge said that the police ‘duly proved that Ariz Khan and his associates caused the murder of a police officer and fired a gunshot on the police official. “
“It has been proved on record that Khan, with his associates, intentionally and knowingly caused the murder of Sharma by a gunshot from a fire arm,” additional sessions judge Sandeep Yadav said during the verdict.
The judge further said that Khan managed to flee and did not appear despite being declared a proclaimed offender.
The court said that through the evidence adduced on record, including ocular, documentary, and scientific, the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Khan along with accomplices, in furtherance of common intention, obstructed inspector Sharma in the discharge of public function. The court added that Khan, along with his accomplices, also fired gunshots at head constables Balwant and Balvir Singh and asked the investigating officer to ascertain the financial position of the convict to decide on the amount of compensation to be given to the victim’s family.
Ariz Khan was present in the court but showed no reaction to the order.
“Entire material wasn’t free from doubt, story of prosecution has many holes but court has delivered verdict convicting my client & one has to bow before court. However, I’m going to challenge it in higher court as I’m hopeful that one day justice will prevail,” said Ariz Khan’s lawyer, as per news agency ANI
Ariz Khan was one of the five terrorists who was present in Batla house when the encounter by the police team took place in September 2008. Two of them- Atif Ameen and Mohammad Sajid- were killed in the encounter while three others-Ariz Khan, Mohammad Saif and Zeeshan had managed to escape. The latter two were arrested earlier with Ariz Khan getting arrested only in February 2018. All the five people were terrorists of Indian Mujahideen. The operation had taken place a week after serial blasts in Delhi in September 2008. 13 people were killed and over 100 were injured in the serial blasts in the national capital.
A huge political slugfest had broken out between BJP and Congress after the encounter. Many sections of the media and few political parties like BSP, SP, TMC had called out the encounter as fake with Salam Khurshid even saying that Sonia Gandhi cried seeing the images of the encounter.
BJP had slammed the accusations then condemning the blatant minority appeasement politics. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing a press conference right after the verdict demanded an apology from the then skeptics.
One must hope that political parties in the future refrain from politicizing and communalizing national security.