Batla encounter: Court frames charges

A Delhi court has framed charges against suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist Shahzad Ahmed, involved in a gunbattle with a Delhi police team at Batla House here in 2008, paving the way for start of trial against him.

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2011, 19:46 PM IST

A Delhi court has framed charges
against suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist Shahzad Ahmed,
involved in a gunbattle with a Delhi police team at Batla
House in Delhi in 2008, paving the way for start of trial against
him.

Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar charged Ahmed,
alias Pappu, for the offences of murder (Section 302) and
attempt to murder (Section 307) of the Indian Penal Code,
besides other penal offences for his role in the encounter.

The encounter had taken place on September 19, 2008,
six days after serial terror blasts rocked Delhi, killing 26
persons and injuring 135 others. The police had reached Batla
House on a tip off that some suspected militants involved in
the blasts were holed up in the building.

The court also charged Shahzad Ahmed under section 333
(causing hurt to public servant), 353 (assault to deter a
public servant from discharge of his duty), 186 (obstructing
public servant in discharge of his public functions), 201
(causing disappearance of evidence) of the IPC besides section
27 of the Arms Act.

"Keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the
case, a prima facie case for the offence under section
186/353/333/302/307 read with section 34 (common intention)
IPC and section 27 of the Arms Act is made out against the
accused Sahazad Ahmed.”

"Since the chargesheet has also been filed against the
accused for offence under section 174-A of the IPC on account
of his being declared a proclaimed offender, he also needs to
be charged for the said offence", ASJ Kuhar said.

The court also noted that after Shahazad fled from
Batla House, he threw the revolver used by him in Gang Nahar
near Bulandsehar in Uttar Pradesh.

Out of the five accused allegedly involved in this
case, Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid were killed during the
encounter at house number L-18, Batla House in Jamia Nagar
locality here.

Highly-decorated Delhi Police Inspector Mohan Chand
Sharma succumbed to the bullet injuries sustained during the
gun battle while head constable Balwant was injured.

Apart from these two, one Ariz Khan had been declared a
proclaimed offender while Mohd Saif was not arrested as
according to the prosecution case, he had surrendered and did
not play any part in the entire incident.

The police team had recovered two .30 bullet pistol, one
A K series rifle with two loaded magazines, containing 30 live
cartridges from the spot.

According to the prosecution, Mohd Saif had disclosed
that he, along with Atif and Ariz, was involved in causing the
serial terror blasts here in the national capital on September
13, 2008, which claimed 26 lives and 135 persons were hurt.

Mohd Saif had told the probe agency that the two IM
men, who fled from the spot during the encounter, were Ariz
and Sahazad and they were active members of IM.
Shahazad, a resident of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, was
arrested by UP ATS on January 1, 2010.

The prosecution had told the court that from phone
call detail records of mobile number used by Atif Ameen,
Shahazad`s presence near Batla House was clear and the accused
had also talked to his mother from the mobile on September 19.

"A prima facie case is made out against the accused
(Shahazad). His presence at the spot has been established by
the call details and his identification by the police
officials. Thus, the participation of the accused in the
commission of the offence has been fully established", the
Additional Public Prosecutor, appearing for the probe agency,
had said.

Defence counsel Khalil Ansari, however, argued that
the offences of murder and attempt to murder are not made out
against Shahazad in this case.

"In all, 24 rounds were fired by the police and eight
rounds by the accused persons and the prosecution has
described that four rounds were fired by Atif Ameen and
another four were fired by Sajid. There is no evidence that
Shahazad had fired any shot", Ansari had contended.

The court, however, rejected the defence counsel`s
contentions saying "this argument is in ignorance of the
principle of joint responsibility in section 34 of IPC. The
facts and circumstances show the common intention shared by
all the persons, including accused Sahazad."

The court also said that while framing charges, it has
to have "only a prima facie case".

"The law is well settled that at the stage of charge,
only a prima facie case is to be seen. At this stage, a roving
inquiry into the matter to ascertain the quality of the
evidence as to its fitness for conviction is not required to
be done.”

"The court, at this stage, has to see whether prima
facie there are sufficient grounds for putting the accused to
trial for the offence alleged against him", ASJ Kuhar said.

The police, in its chargesheet against Shahzad, Ariz
Khan (absconding), Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid, have accused
them of killing Inspector Sharma.
PTI