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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

After 5 years, verdict in Batla House encounter case likely today

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 24, 2013
First Published: 22:42 IST(24/7/2013) | Last Updated: 19:23 IST(25/7/2013)

A Delhi court is likely to pronounce on Thursday its final verdict in the five-year-old controversial Batla House encounter case, in which suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Shahzad is charged with killing Delhi Police's special cell inspector Mohan Chand Sharma.

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Additional sessions judge Rajender Kumar Shastri had reserved the verdict on July 20 after the police and defence concluded its arguments. Seventy prosecution witnesses and two defence witnesses were examined during the trial.

The trial court had declared Shahzad's accomplice, Junaid, a proclaimed offender. Junaid had allegedly fled with Shahzad during the encounter and remained untraceable until the trial ended.

The shootout between the special cell team and the alleged IM terrorists took place six days after serial blasts hit New Delhi on September 13, 2008, leaving 30 dead and over 100 injured.

Acting on a tip-off regarding some terrorists involved in the blasts, the police team led by Inspector Sharma went to Batla House on September 19.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/7/25_07-metro04b_new.jpg

Dressed in civils, Sharma and his colleague went to flat number 108 in L-18 block where the alleged terrorists were living. According to the crime branch chargesheet, the team was caught off-guard after Shahzad and his accomplices shot at Sharma.

Two suspected IM operatives, Atif Amin (the alleged mastermind behind the blasts) and Mohd Sajid were killed as the police fired back.

In the midst of a heavy exchange of fire, one terrorist, Junaid, managed to escape. The police later arrested Mohd Saif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Saqib Nisar, Mohammad Shakeel and Zia-ur-Rehman.

However, only Shahzad was accused of killing Sharma, says the police chargesheet.

The prosecution contended before the court it had sufficient circumstantial evidence and phone records to prove Shahzad was present in the Jamia Nagar flat.

It said that he was among those who had fired at the police, leading to the death of Inspector Sharma.

Shahzad's counsel challenged the police theory. He denied his client was present in the flat. He contended that as per ballistic reports, the bullets found in Sharma's body matched with the gun seized from the spot and not from the weapon allegedly used by Shahzad to shoot at the slain inspector.

It was contended on his behalf that none of the witnesses had given any description of the occupants of the flat.


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