Batla House encounter: Convict Ariz Khan sentenced to death

New Delhi: Observing it to be a "rarest of the rare where convict deserves maximum sentence provided under the law", a Delhi court on Monday awarded the death penalty to convict Ariz Khan in connection with the 2008 Batla House encounter case where police Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was shot and killed and other police personnel were injured.

Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav in his order pronounced in open court stated that Khan, "on account of his despicable act, has forfeited his right to live". "It is the level of magnitude, degree of brutality, attitude and mindset of wrongdoer behind the crime along with other factors which makes it a rarest of the rare case," the ASJ Yadav stated, adding: "Protection of society and deterring criminal is an avowed object of law and this is required to be achieved by imprisonment of appropriate sentence... interest of justice will be met if convict is awarded death penalty".

Further noting that the offence proved against the accused is not an ordinary act but a crime against the state, the court observed: "Convict, while committing offence, acted like a dreaded and well-trained terrorist who does not deserve any leniency".

Khan was declared a proclaimed offender in 2009 and was subsequently arrested in 2018.

The court sentenced Khan to death for offences punishable under Section 302 of IPC and a fine of Rs 11 lakh.

With regard to the compensation being provided to Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma's family, the court ordered that out of the fine of Rs 11 lakh imposed on convict Khan, a sum of Rs 10 lakh be released as compensation to the wife of the deceased Inspector.

After hearing the arguments from both the prosecution, argued by Additional Public Prosecutor AT Ansari and the defence counsel, MS Khan, on the quantum of sentence, the court noted that it has been proved on record that Khan along with his accomplices fired at the police officers on duty without any provocation. "It is pertinent to mention here that the police team led by deceased Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma had gone to the place of occurrence only to nab the persons involved in Delhi blast cases. Police officials had no intention to kill the occupants of the flat," the court said, adding that it was clear from the fact that "deceased Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma who was leading the police team knocked the door of the flat and disclosed his identity…"

ASJ Yadav further went on to state that the defence was not able to clarify as to why deadly weapons like AK-47 and two pistols were kept by the convict and his accomplices in their flat.

Elaborating on the question of whether there is any chance of reformation of the convict, the court held that it has been proved on record that the convict after the shootout managed to escape and run away from the spot. "The convict eluded investigating agencies for almost 10 years despite coercive process against him...there is no evidence on record that convict during investigation or trial showed any signs of reformation or repentance... thus, the natural and inescapable conclusion is that there is no chance of reformation of convict".

With regard to the convict being a threat to society, the court stated: "The abhorrent and brutal act of convict in firing on police party without any provocation itself shows that convict is not only the threat to the society but is also an enemy of the state."

The court had on March 15 convict Ariz Khan noting that in view of the evidence on record produced by the prosecution, "there was no manner of doubt" that the case against Khan was proved beyond any reasonable doubt.

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