Police version of Batla House encounter opposed

Defence lawyer in the Batla House encounter case, senior advocate Satish Tamta, has questioned the police narrative of the 2008 shoot out, highlighting several contradictions and differences in the statements of police witnesses before the court of Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri.

Mr. Tamta, the counsel representing Shahzad, the lone accused in the Batla House encounter case, argued that the prosecution had no direct evidence to prove that Shahzad was present in flat number 108 in L 18 of Batla House where the encounter took place on September 19, 2008, between officers of the Special Cell of the Delhi Police and suspected terrorists.

Mr. Tamta said that in the name of circumstantial evidence the prosecution presented Shahzad’s passport which had expired one year and five months before the date of the encounter.

He also underlined that that there was no phone was recovered from the spot during the encounter or later, in spite of some telephonic records between a phone belonging to Shahzad’s father and that of Atif, who was killed during the shoot out, being one of the main police evidence.

“The charge sheet talks about voice samples being recorded, what happened to those samples?” asked Mr. Tamta.

Underlining the contradiction between the police witnesses, Mr. Tamta referred to the statement of Rahul Kumar who had said that the slain cop, M.C. Sharma, had spoken about the presence of some alleged terrorists at 8 a.m. on the day of the encounter. Satendra Kumar, another police witness, however, in his statement talked about him being in the know of the police raid a day in advance.

He questioned the delay of four and a half hours in registration of the encounter by the police after it took place.

Arguing that the local police station gave the Special Cell personnel enough time to create its own theory of the shoot out, Mr. Tamta said: “Even though the police maintain that the SHO of the local police station had reached the spot of the encounter somewhere close to 11-15, why did he not register any case as soon as possible?”

The arguments are expected to continue this coming Monday.