NEW DELHI: Ariz Khan, convicted in the killing of a police officer in the 2008 Batla House encounter in Delhi, was sentenced to death on Monday by a Delhi court, which said it is the most appropriate punishment for ‘dreaded terrorists’ like him.
“Nature of offence and manner of committing the crime caused extreme indignation to the society in this case,” Additional Sessions Judge Sandeev Yadav said, declaring that there was no doubt that Ariz and his accomplices fired at police officials “without any provocation”.
The encounter between the Delhi Police and a bunch of Indian Mujahideen members holed up in a flat in South Delhi had led to the death of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma while two others sustained injuries.
The court also imposed a total fine of Rs 11 lakh on Ariz, of which Rs 10 lakh was ordered to be given to the family of Sharma, who was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra and many gallantry awards.
Judge Yadav also sought to put an end to the allegations of the September 2008 police operation being a fake encounter.
He held that police officials had no intention to kill the occupants of the flat, stating that some members of the raiding team were not even carrying arms.
“It is obvious that convict Ariz Khan along with his accomplices fired at police officials without being challenged, instinctively...” the judge said, in the 22-page verdict.
Ariz’s lawyer M S Khan had opposed capital punishment saying the incident was not premeditated.
“Deadly weapons like AK-47 and two pistols were retrieved from the flat where the shootout took place.... Considering the nature of devastation these weapons can cause, it will be safe to conclude that there was were kept in the flat with a view to indulge in terrorist and anti-social activities,” the court ruled.
The case will now go to the Delhi High Court for confirmation of the capital punishment.
Fits rarest of rare yardstick
The court put the case in the “rarest of rare” category while agreeing with Additional Prosecutor A T Ansari that this was not just any killing but a murder of a law enforcement officer who was a defender of justice.