New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday pronounced quantum of punishment to Indian Mujahideen operative Shahzad Ahmed, who was convicted last week in connection with 2008 Batla House encounter case. Shahzad Ahmed has been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a police officer MC Sharma and injuring two other cops.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Rajender Kumar Shastri also imposed a fine of Rs 95,000 on Shahzad. The court said that out of the fine amount, Rs 40,000 would go to the family of Sharma and Rs 20,000 to Head Constable Balwant Singh, who was injured in the encounter.

The encounter had taken place at flat no. L-18, Batla House in Jamia Nagar locality on September 19, 2008, six days after serial bomb blasts rocked Delhi, killing 26 persons and injuring 133 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 had on Monday reserved its verdict on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to Shahzad after hearing arguments from the prosecution and the defence. The prosecution had sought death penalty while the defence counsel had pleaded for leniency and a chance for reformation of the convict.

The Delhi Police had argued for capital punishment on the ground that he had killed and injured on-duty police officers and was involved in various other heinous crimes, including the September 13, 2008 serial blasts here which left 26 people dead and injured 133.

Special Public Prosecutor Satwinder Kaur had contended that there was no scope for reformation of Shahzad and equated his case with that of Devenderpal Singh Bhullar and Ajmal Kasab who were awarded death penalty and the same was upheld by the Supreme Court. On the other hand, Shahzad's advocate Satish Tamta had said death sentence can be awarded only in rarest-of-rare cases and this one did not fall under that category.

(JPN/Agencies)

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