Shahzad Ahmad is guilty of murdering inspector: Delhi court

A Delhi court has convicted suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Shahzad Ahmad in the 2008 Batla House encounter case for murdering Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and assaulting other officers.

“He (Shahzad) is held guilty of causing [the] death of Inspector M.C. Sharma and attempting to cause [the] death of Head Constables Balwant Singh and Rajbir Singh by firing [at] them. He is also found guilty of assaulting police officers and obstructing them from doing their duty,” Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri said, pronouncing the verdict.

The court will pronounce its order on sentence on Monday (July 29, 2013).

The court found Shahzad guilty of murder, attempt to murder, obstructing and assaulting public servants and grievously injuring the police officers to deter them from performing their duty. Shahzad, however, was acquitted in the offence under Section 174A of the IPC, which pertains to failure to appear before court as required.

The encounter took place when a team of Delhi Police Special Cell raided flat no 108 at L-18 in the Batla House area of Jamia Nagar on September 19, 2008, after reportedly getting a tip-off that suspected IM members, responsible for the 2008 Delhi serial blasts, were hiding there. During the encounter, Inspector M.C. Sharma, who headed the operation, was killed in the encounter along with two suspected terrorists — Atif Ahmed and Mohammad Sajjid.

Police had claimed that there was enough circumstantial evidence, including Shahzad’s expired passport seized from the flat, to prove that Shahzad was present in the flat and fired two rounds at the police party as he fled, leading to the death of Inspector Sharma.

However, Shahzad’s counsel Satish Tamta had claimed there was no direct evidence that Shahzad was present in the flat during the encounter. Mr. Tamta referred to the ballistic and forensic reports which said no bullet was found on the flat. Saif, allegedly hiding in the bathroom of the flat when the encounter happened, told the court that Shahzad was not present in the flat.

This article has been corrected as earlier the headline and lead paragraph erroneously described Shahzad Ahmad -- who had been convicted by a Delhi court for the murder of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma in the Batla House encounter -- as an Indian Mujahideen operative.

In fact, it has so far not been established that Shahzad was an IM operative. This charge is being examined by another court, which is hearing the Delhi blasts case of 2008. IN his story, our reporter had correctly described Shahzad as a suspected IM operative but the word ``suspected’’ got dropped from both the text and headline during the editing process.

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