The Delhi police on Tuesday took Aftab Poonawala, accused of allegedly strangulating his live-in partner inside their house and chopping her body into several pieces, to the forest area in south Delhi’s Chhatarpur and spent nearly three hours to locate specific places where he had allegedly dumped her body parts.
Hardly a kilometre away from Aftab’s house, he had allegedly dumped his live-in partner, Shraddha’s body parts in the forest after storing it in the fridge for over three months. For six months after the murder on May 18, Aftab continued to live in the same house where he killed Shraddha Walkar. The crime came to light last week when the police interrogated the accused following a missing complaint filed by Shraddha’s father in Mumbai. The complaint was transferred to Delhi police on November 8. On sustained questioning, Aftab allegedly confessed to killing Shraddha in a fit of rage after a quarrel over suspicion of an affair.
“We have received a body part after we took him to the forest and asked him to point to areas where he had dumped the remains.. We are trying to recover other body parts and will then send it to the FSL for authentication,” a senior police officer said. The police had recovered 13 body parts on Monday which was sent for analysis. The police were granted a five-day remand of the accused on November 11. They are trying to recover as many body parts as possible.
An officer said the police suspect that Aftab has been misleading them and hence, might seek his further custody. “We have got nothing concrete in terms of recovery from the forest today. A bone has been recovered but the FSL are yet to ascertain if it belongs to a human”.
The police have not been able to recover the murder weapon yet. Sources added that the probe will now be supervised directly by the Joint Commissioner of Police (South).
‘Was not in touch’
Meanwhile, the victim’s father, Vikas Walker, who is currently in Delhi along with his son to assist in the case investigation said that he didn’t know anything about his daughter after she left Mumbai. He got to know that Shraddha had gone missing from her friends.
“He [Aftab] must be hanged if he has killed my daughter so brutally,” said the father of 27-year-old Shraddha.
“She had left home [in Mumbai] abruptly. Her friends did tell me that she was not in a good mental state and wanted to break up with Aftab,” her father added.
Shraddha’s mother had died two years ago. Talking about his daughter’s demeanour, Mr. Walkar said: “She was a very simple girl before she met Aftab. Her demeanour had changed after meeting the accused.”
Mr. Walkar said the family was against their relationship and had even conveyed it to Shraddha. “I last spoke to her in 2021; I remember that she was upset that I did not agree to their inter-caste relationship,” he said.
In the FIR, the vicitm’s father had stated that his daughter, after moving out and renting several flats with Aftab in Mumbai, had told him and his wife on phone calls that Aftab used to beat her. They had told her to leave Aftab but she did not agree and continued to stay with him.
On Monday, Additional DCP (South) Ankit Chauhan said that Aftab and Shraddha had been dating since 2019 when they were working at a call centre in Mumbai. They met through an online dating app and soon started living together, which was disapproved of by their parents. The couple decided to shift to Delhi in May this year.
Three days after moving to Delhi, on the night of May 18, the couple had an argument and in a fit of rage, Aftab had strangulated Shraddha with his hands.. The police said that Aftab thereon kept Shraddha’s body for two days inside the house and then started chopping her body with a cleaver knife. “He disposed of the body parts he thought would decompose quickly in his backpack after wrapping them in a polythene and disposed of the other body parts over a period of three months. He used air fresheners and incense sticks to mask the smell coming from the human flesh,” sources had said.