Senior advocate Satish Tamta who represents Shahzad, an accused in the Batla House encounter, continued to highlight the loopholes in the police narrative on Friday even as the case reached its concluding stage. Saturday is expected to be the last day of final arguments after which Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri would give dates for the final verdict.
Arguing before the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr. Tamta highlighted that going by the police story – that Shahzad fled flat No. 108 while firing at the police party and threw the weapon in a drain somewhere in Uttar Pradesh – there should have been a bullet fired from his firearm.
To counter the police claim, he cited the ballistic reports of the bullets found from the site of the encounter. The report said all the bullets matched with the arms belonging to the police party and two arms allegedly attributed to Atif and Sajid. “According to the report there was no extra bullet on the spot, which demolishes the entire police theory that Shahzad fired and fled. Our point has been that he was not there in the first place and has been framed in the case – an argument substantiated by a series of evidences including this one,” argued Mr. Tamta.
Mr. Tamta also highlighted the prosecution’s “wilful ignorance” of few vital evidences which could have brought the truth before the Court and, in turn, could have gone against the prosecution story.
“As somebody living just 125 metres away from the site of the encounter, Owais Malik was probably one of the most important witnesses in this case, who could have thrown light on the case. The fact that the police did not record the statement of Mr. Malik, who after hearing the gun shots, was the first one to inform the local police about the encounter, shows that the prosecution was not interested in knowing the truth. They were, instead, more interested in making up a story,” Mr. Tamta alleged, while highlighting that Mr. Malik was interrogated over phone only.
Mr. Tamta cited the “silence” of prosecution on the issue of sampling of Shahzad’s voice as an instance of “withholding evidence out of the possibility that it may go against their case”. The prosecution, which claimed that a call was made from the phone number of Shahzad’s father to Atif’s phone early morning on the day of the encounter, had also taken Shahzad’s voice samples apparently to match with the intercepted voice samples. The phone number belonging to Atif was on surveillance from September 1, 2008, he said.
“Till now the prosecution has been completely silent on what happened to those voice samples. It leads us to make an inference, as the Evidence Act mandates, that they are withholding the evidence because it may have gone against them,” Mr. Tamta argued.
Mr. Tamta also argued that the law mandates that prosecution should not only explain the injuries sustained by victims but also the injuries to the accused. “The police story has completely failed to explain how come serious physical injuries were sustained by both Atif and Sajid, who were killed in the shoot out. Their post-mortem report clearly states that they died not only because of bullet injuries but also due to physical injuries,” he concluded.