The lone alleged Indian Mujahideen militant facing trial in the 2008 Batla House encounter case in New Delhi has pleaded innocent before a Delhi court while refuting police's claim that he had confessed to his role.
"I am innocent and have been falsely implicated in this case," said Shazad Ahmed while recording his statement before Additional Sessions Judge Rajender Kumar Shastri.
Shazad is said to be one of the occupants of the flat in Jamia Nagar where the encounter took place on September 19, 2008 between officers of the Special Cell of Delhi police and the alleged IM terrorists said to be involved in the September 13, 2008 serial blasts.
Shahzad in his statement denied he was in the flat in Batla House with other associates or had fired at the raiding party including inspector M C Sharma.
He also denied having given any disclosure statement to the police in custody and said, "It is incorrect. I never made any disclosure statement. My signatures were obtained forcibly and same were fabricated by the police."
He also said, "I was picked up by officers of Anti Terrorism Squad Lucknow from my house (in Azamgarh). A complaint in regard of kidnapping was also lodged."
The claim was, however, refuted by a Uttar Pradesh police official called by him as defence witness. Shahzad also claimed it to be incorrect that he was later identified as one of the occupants of the flat in Batla House by the members of the raiding party which had gone there.
When asked as to why prosecution witnesses have deposed against him, Shahzad said, "They are interested witnesses and have falsely deposed."
About the September 13 serial blasts and the probe revealing that one Atif, who was allegedly involved in the terror attack, was residing in Batla, Shazad said "it is incorrect."
While claiming that he "did not know" about the raiding team reaching the flat in Jamia Nagar during its probe in the blasts, he said "it was incorrect" that the police party faced firing there.
He also said he did not know about inspector M C Sharma sustaining bullet injuries in the exchange of fire in the flat. To another question, Shahzad said he did not know about the report of the medical board that bullet wounds received by M C Sharma are unlikely to be caused by accidental firing of dellow police officers in the raiding party.
Shahzad also termed as incorrect the statemnet that one of the terrorists in the flat, Mohd Saif, surrendered and disclosed his name and that of Ariz as the two terrorists who escaped from the flat.
He said he was not aware of Mohd Saif disclosing that he was one of the members of Indian Mujahideen, which was responsible for serial blasts in Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and other places.
He also claimed it was incorrect that on February 1, 2010, a team of Uttar Pradesh ATS went to village Khalispur in Azamgarh district in his search. When told that the team reached his house in Khalispur and on seeing it he tried to flee, Shahzad said "it was incorrect" and that false documents of his arrest were prepared.
He, however, accepted that he had refused to participate in the Test Identification Parade after he was brought to Delhi on transit remand.
The prosecutor also asked that it is in evidence that on February 4, 2010, he led police personnel to Gang Nehar in Bulandsehar, UP and pointed out the place where he had thrown a revolver with which he is said to have fired at Sharma but the same could not be recovered.
"It is incorrect. Neither did I lead the police party to Bulandhsehar not pointed out any place and false documents were prepared by the police," he replied.
Earlier, on Shahzad's plea for calling defence witness, the court had issued production warrant for Mohd Saif and Zeeshan, both lodged in Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad in connection with the serial blasts of July 26, 2008 there.
The duo will appear on Friday via video-conferencing due to security concerns.
According to the charge sheet, Mohd Saif was also present in the flat in which the encounter took place.
The police team is said to have reached the flat during its probe in the 2008 Delhi serial blasts where a series of explosions were executed at Karol Bagh, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash and India Gate killing 26 and injuring 133.
Shahzad had allegedly escaped from the flat in Jamia Nagar during the encounter. The charge sheet says Mohd Saif had surrendered peacefully and had disclosed the names of the escapees as Shahzad and one other named Junaid. While Shahzad was arrested later, Junaid was declared a proclaimed offender.
Shahzad is the lone accused facing trial in connection with the shoot-out in which Special Cell inspector M C Sharma had lost his life. Other accused named in the charge sheet are Mohd Atif Ameen alias Bashir and Mohd Sajid. Both of them were shot down in the encounter.ely deposed."