Batla House shootout: Court paves way for trial (Lead)

February 15th, 2011 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Paving the way for the trial to begin, a Delhi court Tuesday formally slapped charges against Shahzad Ahmed, a suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist, arrested in south Delhi’s Batla House shootout in which a Delhi Police inspector was killed in 2008.Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar framed the charges against Shahzad Ahmed alias Pappu.

Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma of Delhi Police’s specialised anti-terror squad, Special Cell, and two suspected IM terrorists were killed Sep 19, 2008, in Batla House neighbourhood in Okhla, six days after Sep 13 serial blasts here that claimed 26 lives.

Shahzad has been charged under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

He has also been charged under Sections 333 (causing hurt to public servant), 353 (assault to deter a public servant from discharge of duty), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his functions), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the IPC.

Offences under “section 34 (common intent) of the IPC and section 27 of the Arms Act are also made out against the accused Shahzad Ahmed,” said the court.

“Since the charge sheet 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,” said the court.

Of the five accused allegedly involved in this case, Atif Ameen and Mohammed Sajid were killed during the shootout at building number L-18, Batla House.

Inspector Sharma succumbed to bullet injuries sustained during the gun battle while head constable Balwant was injured.

After the shootout, suspected IM terrorist Ariz Khan, who was on the run, was declared a proclaimed offender by a court and he has eluded arrest so far.

Another suspect Mohammed Saif was not arrested as according to the prosecution case, he had surrendered and had not played any part in entire incident.

Police recovered 30 bullets, a pistol and an AK series rifle with two loaded magazines, containing 30 live cartridges, from the spot.

According to the prosecution, Mohammed Saif disclosed that he, along with Atif and Ariz, was involved in the serial blasts in Delhi which claimed 26 lives and 135 people were injured.

Mohammed Saif told the probe agency that the two suspected IM terrorists, who fled from the spot during the shootout, were Ariz and Shahzad.

Shahzad, a resident of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh anti-terrorism squad Jan 1, 2010.

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

“A prima facie case is made out against the accused (Shahzad). His presence at the spot has been established by the call details and his identification by police officials. Thus, the participation of the accused in the commission of offence has been fully established,” additional public prosecutor, appearing for the probe agency, said.

Defence counsel Khalil Ansari said that offences of murder and attempt to murder were not made out against Shahzad in this case.

“In all, 24 rounds were fired by police and eight rounds by the accused 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 Shahzad had fired any shot,” Ansari said.

The court rejected the contentions of defence counsel, saying the facts and circumstances showed the common intention shared by all the accused, including Shahzad.

The court said that at the stage of the framing of charges, it had to see if “a prima facie case” was made out.

Police, in their charge sheet against Shahzad, Ariz (absconding), Atif Ameen and Mohammed Sajid, had accused them of killing Inspector Sharma in the shootout.

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