Batla House shootout: Court to pronounce verdict Tuesday

batlaA Delhi Court Tuesday will decide the fate of Shahzad Ahmad, lone convict and suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative in the 2008 Batla House shootout case.

The prosecution has sought death penalty for Ahmad saying it is the “rarest of rare case”.

Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri, who convicted the 24-year-old man from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh for killing Delhi Police Special Cell Inspector M.C. Sharma in the shootout, will pronounce the verdict.

The court after hearing arguments of the prosecution and the defence had reserved the verdict on the punishment for the convict for Tuesday.

The prosecution, while seeking death penalty for Ahmad, 24, told the court that the accused killed inspector Sharma and injured head constables Balwant Singh and Rajbir Singh while they were performing their duty, so he be given death penalty.

It added that while awarding any punishment, the court should also take into account the pain of inspector Sharma’s family.

The shootout between a Delhi Police Special Cell team and alleged IM operatives occurred Sep 19, 2008, days after serial blasts rocked the national capital Sep 13.

Ahmad was said to be present in house number L-8 in Jamia Nagar in south Delhi where the shootout took place.

The court July 25 held Ahmad guilty of assaulting police officials and obstructing them from doing their duty.

He was convicted of offences that included murder and attempt to murder which carry a death penalty as the maximum sentence.

Counsel Satish Tamta, appearing for Ahmad, urged the court to take a “lenient” view as the case did not fall in the category of “organised crime”, adding that a chance be given to Ahmad to “reform” himself.

The Sep 19, 2008, exchange of fire took place between a seven-member Delhi Police Special Cell team, and suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists allegedly involved in the Sep 13, 2008, serial blasts in Delhi.

The bomb blasts took place in Karol Bagh, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash and the vicinity of India Gate, leaving over 26 people killed and over 130 injured.

The raiding police team had received specific information that a suspected person wanted in connection with the five serial bomb blasts was hiding at L-18 flat in the four-storeyed building in Jamia Nagar.

The police team’s attempts to storm the flat around 10.30 a.m. resulted in exchange of fire. The holed-up terrorists’ bullets hit Sharma, who subsequently died.

Of the five, who were residing in the flat, Atif Ameen and Mohd.Sajid were killed during the shootout, Ariz Khan alias Junaid escaped and was declared a proclaimed offender, while Mohd Saif was not made an accused in this case as, according to the prosecution, he had surrendered peacefully and had not played any part in the entire incident.

The police filed the charge sheet against Ahmad April 28, 2010.

The prosecution examined around 70 witnesses, including six eye-witnesses who were part of the police raid team.

(Source: IANS)