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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Batla encounter: Court to award sentence tomorrow

PTI  New Delhi, July 29, 2013
First Published: 03:13 IST(29/7/2013) | Last Updated: 18:24 IST(29/7/2013)

The Delhi Police on Monday sought death penalty for the lone suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Shahzad Ahmed convicted in the 2008 Batla House encounter for killing decorated police officer M C Sharma and injuring two other cops.

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Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Rajender Kumar Shastri, after hearing arguments of the prosecution and the defence, however, reserved for tomorrow his verdict on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to Shahzad.

During the arguments on the point of sentence, Special Public Prosecutor Satwinder Kaur sought death penalty for Shahzad saying there are no mitigating circumstances in this case and the convict is involved in several heinous crimes.

"One senior police officer (Inspector M C Sharma) was killed and two other officers (head constables Balwant Singh and Rajbir Singh) were injured while performing their duty," she said.

Citing Supreme Court verdicts in Devenderpal Singh Bhullar and Ajmal Kasab cases, the prosecutor said just like those cases, this case has also shocked the collective conscience of society.

She added there is no scope for Shahzad's reformation and rehabilitation and seeing the nature of crimes he is involved in, he will continue to be a "threat to society".

Outside the court complex also, over 50 residents of Paharganj area, where one of the blasts had taken place on September 13, 2008, had gathered and demanded death penalty for Shahzad.

Some of them had lost family members or friends in the attack, while others had helped with the rescue efforts to get the injured to hospitals.

Advocate Satish Tamta, appearing for Shahzad sought leniency for his client saying the present case does not fall under the rarest of rare category.

Tamta said the crime was committed on the spur of the moment without any premeditation.

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