Ariz Khan awarded death penalty in Batla House case

Family land of Ariz Khan to be sold to recover Rs 11 Lakh

A Saket Court in Delhi has awarded the death penalty to Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist Ariz Khan, who on March 8, 2021 was found guilty and convicted in the 2008 Batla House encounter case. In that shootout Mohan Chand Sharma, a Police inspector was killed by the terrorists.

Concluding that this was one of the “rarest of the rare” category case, Sandeep Yadav Additional Sessions Judge Saket Court said it merited the award of the death sentence for Khan.

Convict 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 law. It is the level of magnitude, decree of brutality, attitude and mindset of wrongdoer behind the crime alongwith other factors which make it a rarest of the rare case.. Interest of justice will be met if convict is awarded death penalty.“, Judge Yadav wrote in his reasons for death sentence.

The Court found on September 19, 2008, at about 11 AM at flat no. 108, L-18, Batla House, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi, Ariz Khan along with his associates  Mohammed Atif, Mohammed Sajid and Shahzad Ahmad, in furtherance of their common intention, intentionally and knowingly committed murder by causing death of Police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma by firearm, voluntarily obstructed the discharge of their public functions, assaulted and used criminal force, and caused grievous injury to other police officers. The police team was trapped in the drawing-room of the said house and was forced to resort to fire in self-defence.

In addition to the death of PI Mohan Chand Sharma, two of the terrorists – Mohammed Atif and Mohammed Sajid also died in that incident. Both Ariz Khan and Shahzad Ahmad managed to escape. Shahzad Ahmad was captured and convicted in 2013 and is serving life imprisonment.

Ariz Khan was declared a proclaimed offender in 2009 and was arrested in 2018 after he had managed to take on a false identity of a Nepali.

Looking at the prosecution’s case and accepting the evidence, Judge Sanjeev Yadav said that the natural and inescapable conclusion of Ariz Khan’s despicable and inhuman conduct was that there was no chance of his reformation and rehabilitation.

In a 22-page order, the Court said that the abhorrent, brutal act of firing on police without any provocation by police, itself showed that Ariz Khan was not only threat to the society but was also an enemy of the State.

It was thus concluded,

“The offence proved against accused is not an ordinary act but a crime against the State. Convict, while committing offence acted like a dreaded and well trained terrorist who does not deserve any leniency”, Judge Yadav said.

A fine of Rs 11 lakh was also imposed on Khan, out of which Rs 10 lakh shall be released as compensation to the wife of the deceased police officer’s wife.

The matter has now been sent to the Delhi High Court for confirmation of death penalty.

The Court had on March 8, convicted Ariz Khan for commissions of offences under Sections 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions)/ 333 (Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty)/ 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty)/ 302 (Murder)/ 307 (attempt to murder)/34 (common intention) IPC and Sections 27 (Punishment for using arms, etc) of Arms Act and Section 174A (Non-appearance in response to a proclamation) IPC.

Judge Yadav said he had based his sentencing of Ariz Khan on the evidence adduced on record by prosecution including ocular evidence of hundred witnesses, documentary evidence and scientific evidence.

The judge, after obtaining a report (he had previously ordered) on financial condition of Ariz Khan has ordered a fine of Rs 1 Lakh (to be paid to the government) and an amount of Rs 10 Lakh to be paid to the family of Pilate Mohan Chand Sharma. This amount of Rs 11 Lakh will be recovered from Ariz Khan by selling land the family has in Azamgarh UP.

Also finding that no amount of compensation can alleviate the pain endured by the family of late Moahn Chand Sharma and saying Rs 10 Lakh is insufficient to compensate, Judge Yadav directed “the District Legal Service Authority Delhi (South) to award adequate and proper compensation to the legal heirs / dependants of deceased Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma”.

The matter now has been sent to the Delhi High Court for confirmation of the death penalty. The decision of Judge Sandeep Yadav was announced in OPEN court on 15 March 2021.

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