Ariz Khan

18 October 2023 :

The Delhi high court on October 12, 2023 commuted Ariz Khan's death penalty to a life sentence, a decision stemming from his conviction in the high-profile 2008 Batla House encounter.
The Batla House encounter case was an armed Delhi Police operation to arrest terrorists of the Indian terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, hiding in a flat in the Batla House area of Jamia Nagar, Okhla, on 19 September 2008.
This incident led to the tragic loss of life of the distinguished Delhi Police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma.
A Bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Amit Sharma upheld the March 2021 judgment of the trial court convicting Khan of the police officer’s killing, but declined to confirm the capital punishment, saying that there was “nothing on record to attribute the fatal shot responsible for the death of the late Inspector to any particular accused”.
Noting that the case does not fall under the category of a ‘rarest of rare case’, the court said rigorous imprisonment for life would be an appropriate sentence for Khan.
In August, the bench had reserved its judgment on this matter, following the completion of arguments from both the convict's lawyers and the state's legal representatives.
Additionally, two terrorists were fatally wounded in the same encounter. This incident occurred just days after a series of coordinated bomb explosions rocked the nation's capital, resulting in the tragic loss of 39 lives and causing injuries to 159 individuals. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma conducted the raid in search of the terrorists who were believed to be responsible for the bombings.
On March 8, 2021, the trial court issued a verdict, finding Ariz Khan guilty. The court established that it had been conclusively proven that Khan, along with his associates, was responsible for the murder of the police officer and had fired gunshots at him. The court classified this offense as being in the "rarest of the rare" category, justifying the imposition of the most severe punishment, which was the death penalty, where he would be "hanged by the neck" until death.
On March 15, 2021, the court handed down the death penalty to Ariz Khan and additionally imposed a fine of Rs 11 lakh on him. The court specifically directed that Rs 10 lakh of this fine should be promptly transferred to the family members of Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma. Following this, the high court received a reference regarding the confirmation of Ariz Khan's death sentence.


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