Death sought for Batla House convict, verdict Tuesday
The fate of Shahzad Ahmad, lone convict and Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative in the 2008 Batla House shootout case, will be decided by a Delhi court Tuesday, with the prosecution seeking death penalty in the "rarest of rare case".
The plea to hang Ahmad was made Monday before 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.
The court after hearing arguments of the prosecution and the defence reserved the verdict on the punishment for the convict for Tuesday.
"Come for verdict tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2 p.m.," the court said.
The prosecution, while seeking death penalty for Ahmad, 24, told the court that the accused killed senior police officer (Sharma) and injured two others (head constables Balwant Singh and Rajbir Singh) while they were performing their duty, so he be given death penalty.
Special Public Prosecutor Satwinder Kaur said: "This case falls in the rarest of rare category. I request the court to give maximum punishment, that is death."
The prosecution said while awarding any punishment, the court should also take into account the pain of the family of inspector Sharma.
"For the interest of society, the interest of the victim's family, I pray to court that the convict be given death," said the special public prosecutor.
Kaur cited a few Supreme Court verdicts like in the case of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab and bomb blast convict Devenderpal Singh Bhullar and said "this (Batla House) case has also shocked the collective conscience of society".
She said there were no mitigating circumstances in this case and the convict was involved in several heinous crimes.
The prosecution told the court that the aim of police was only to apprehend the terrorists, and if there was any other aim they wouldn't have gone without bulletproof jackets.
Inspector Sharma who died of bullet injuries was not wearing a bulletproof jacket during the raid.
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".
"The case doesn't fall in the organised crime category, the incident happened on the spur of the moment. It was not against women, children or helpless people. I request the court to take a lenient view. Don't treat it as a rarest of rare case," the counsel said, adding that a chance be given to Ahmad to "reform" himself.
The defence counsel said that chance be given to Ahmad to reform, as he has not been convicted in any other case.
The prosecution, however, objected saying that there is no scope for Ahmad's reformation and rehabilitation.
"The nature of crimes he is involved in, he will continue to be a threat to society," the prosecution said.
Seeking leniency in the sentencing, Tamta told the court that Ahmad was 20-year-old at the time of the incident and was still studying.
"He was 20-year-old at the time of incident and he was studying. He is unmarried and his conduct was good during the trial," counsel said.
Seeking leniency and reform for accused, Tamta said: "We still believe that we are in reformative society and chance be given to him for reform."
Ahmad was said to be present in the flat 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.
The Sep 19, 2008, exchange of fire took place between a seven-member Delhi Police Special Cell team, led by Inspector Sharma, 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 133 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.