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Suspected IM operative gives investigators an account of Batla House encounter

Ariz Khan alias Junaid was present in the Batla House flat when the Delhi police raided it on September 19, 2008

delhi Updated: May 19, 2018 09:04 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Batla House encounter,Indian Mujahideen,NIA
Suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Ariz Khan arrested by Delhi Police in New Delhi on February 14, 2018. (Arvind Yadav/HT File Photo)

A suspected operative of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) has provided an eyewitness account of the controversial encounter 10 years ago between the police and alleged terrorists in South Delhi’s Batla House in which encounter specialist Mohan Chand Sharma was killed, home ministry officials familiar with the details of his interrogation said.

IM operative Atif Ameen tried to escape but inspector Sharma, who was awarded the Ashok Chakra posthumously, caught hold of him. Atif then grabbed Sharma’s gun and started firing when a Delhi police team raided the flat where the IM terrorists were holed up, according to the account given to the NIA by Ariz Khan alias Junaid.

Junaid was present in the Batla House flat when the Delhi police raided it on September 19, 2008. Ameen and one of his associates, Mohammed Sajid alias Chota Sajid, were killed in the shootout along with Sharma, who died of bullet injuries in a hospital. Ariz Khan escaped. The shootout at Batla House became controversial and many suspected that it was a staged encounter.

Following the arrest of Ariz by Delhi police earlier this year, the NIA interrogated him at length.

“Ariz told NIA officials that besides Atif and Chota Sajid, he was also present in the Batla House flat along with – Shahzad Ahmed alias Pappu and Mohammaded Saif. One of their associates, Zeeshan, left the flat in the morning to take an exam,” said a home ministry official.

Ariz told the interrogators that he was woken up by policemen and brought to the hall where he saw two policemen covering Atif and Shahzad. Two other policemen were watching over Saif and Chota Sajid.

“Suddenly Atif tried to run but was held by inspector Sharma. Atif caught hold of inspector Sharma’s gun and started firing,” Ariz told interrogators, according to the home ministry officials.

The police team returned fire, resulting in the death of Sajid and Ameen but Shahzad and Ariz managed to flee from the flat. Ariz’s lawyer, MS Khan, maintained that his client “was not involved with any outfit called Indian Mujahideen or any blasts”.

First Published: May 19, 2018 09:04 IST