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Batla House encounter was not fake, says court

Batla House encounter was not fake, says court
Putting an end to years of speculation in the political circles over the Batla House encounter of 2008, in which Delhi Police Special Cell inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was killed, a court in the national capital declared that the police operation was genuine and held the alleged Indian Mujahideen operative Shahzad Ahmad guilty for murder.

A Saket court on Thursday announced that the lone arrested accused Ahmad was guilty of murder of the slain inspector, attempt to murder, obstructing and assaulting public servants and grievously injuring the police officers. The Delhi police operation had been mired in controversy since it took place on 19 September 2008, with Congress politicians, particularly Digvijaya Singh, pronouncing it a fake encounter. Singh had stuck to his statement, terming the entire operation as staged, despite the party’s distancing itself from his opinion.

However, in the wake of Thursday’s court verdict, while senior Congress leader and then union home minister, P Chidambaram, accepted that the shootout was indeed genuine, Singh was reduced to mincing his words, saying that all he had asked for was a judicial inquiry and his stand was fully justified.     

Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri, while announcing the judgement, fixed 29 July the date for deciding the quantum of sentence. The maximum sentence in the case could be death. ‘He (Shahzad) is guilty of attempting to cause death of head constables Balwant Singh and Rajbir Singh and causing death of inspector M C Sharma by firing on them,’ said the court. It also said, ‘He is found guilty of assaulting police officers and obstructing them from doing their duty’.

The prosecution had argued that circumstantial evidence and Call Details Record were enough to establish and prove Shahzad’s presence in the Batla House L-18 during the said encounter. It said Shahzad was among those who had fired at the police team in which inspector M C Sharma died. It said that Shahzad along with another accused Junaid had fled after firing at the police party during the encounter. MC Sharma was injured and later succumbed to his injuries.

Shahzad was arrested from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh after over a year of the encounter. His family said they will move the Delhi High court against the judgement.
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