A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Amit Sharma reduced the death sentence punishment, awarded by the trial court to Khan, to life imprisonment.
‘In view of the ongoing discussion, Judgement of conviction is UPHLED. The sentence of death imposed by is however not confirmed. The order dated March 15 is modified to that extent. The appeal is allowed in part,’ the high court said.
The trial court, in 2021 March, found Khan’s offence to be under the ‘rarest of rare’ category and hence warranted the maximum sentence of capital punishment.
Khan filed a plea challenging the verdict and his punishment in the high court in 2021 July through advocates MS Khan and Qausar Khan.
Inspector Sharma, belonging to the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, was killed in action on September 19, 2008, in south Delhi’s Jamia Nagar during the encounter, which took place six days after serial blasts ripped through the national capital killing at least 30 people and leaving more than 100 injured.
Acting on a tip-off, the police team, which included Sharma, had raided a flat in the Batla House locality.
Khan, 37, who fled after the encounter, was pronounced as a proclaimed offender (PO) in 2009, and was arrested on February 14, 2018.
He was convicted by the trial court on March 8, 2021, and sentenced to death on March 15.
Shahzad Ahmed, another convict in the case, was arrested on January 1, 2010. In July 2013, Ahmed was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment and appealed against the verdict in the high court.
The appeal, however, is still pending in the court. Ahmed died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in January this year after being admitted for over two weeks.
What was the 2008 Batla House Encounter?
The Batla House encounter took place in the Okhla area of the national capital leading to the death of Sharma and injuring two other officers.
Khan, a native of Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh, is also said to be the mastermind of the 2008 serial blasts across Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh in which 165 people lost their lives and 500 people were injured.
Six days after the serial blasts, an encounter took place at L-18 Batla House in Delhiís Jamia Nagar between a raiding team of the Delhi Police special cell and suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives. Khan, Shahzad and Junaid fled after Sharma lost his life.
Two suspected terrorists, Atif Amin and Mohammed Sajid, were killed in the shootout and one suspected IM operative, Mohd Saif had surrendered.
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