Activists and lawyers who followed the Batla House encounter were “extremely disappointed” by the trial court verdict, which, they argued, believed the prosecution story that had “big loopholes”.

A Delhi court on Thursday convicted one of the accused in the Batla House encounter case, Shahzad, for killing Special Cell Inspector M. C. Sharma.

President of Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association Manisha Sethi said it was “deeply disappointing” that the court upheld the police story on Shahzad’s escape in “complete disregard” of the fact that the only way of escape was a narrow staircase with iron grill on it.

“How could Shahzad have escaped when there were police personnel on the spot of the encounter, the fourth floor, in the staircase, on the ground floor, the lane, back lane?” she asked.

“How can the Court come to the conclusion that Shahzad may have escaped through the staircase when ASI Anil Tyagi told the Court that he did not see anybody coming downstairs while he was downstairs blocking the way. Similarly, even ACP Sanjeev Yadav has said in his cross-examination that he did not see anyone on the way while going upstairs,” Ms. Sethi further questioned.

Referring to the verdict, which held that Shahzad could have hidden in the flats adjoining the flat no 108, she asked, “if that was the possibility why was no witness made from those flats?”

As a human rights activist and a lawyer who sought an independent investigation into the Batla House encounter, Prashant Bhushan also expressed his disappointment with the verdict. “The possibility for Shahzad to escape in the given circumstance is very weak. No credible explanation has been given by the police for his alleged escape.”

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