Aaftab Poonawala may have used more than one weapon to chop up his partner Shraddha Walkar’s body after strangling her at their Delhi home in May, police sources said today. The 28-year-old took a polygraph test in the investigations into the murder that has shocked the nation.
Aaftab Poonawala appeared “cool and normal” during his lie detector test, the sources said. Yesterday, the test was deferred because he was unwell, according to officials. He will also go through a narco test.
“He has behaved very normally and smoothly from the beginning, so it was very important to get his polygraph and narco done. This is a long process. Even after the remand is over a narco test can be done in judicial custody too,” said Delhi Police sources.
The Delhi Police are investigating whether Aaftab Poonawala planned Shraddha Walkar’s murder in Himachal Pradesh, where the couple holidayed for weeks in March-April before arriving in Delhi. Sources say he appears to have chosen a strategic location for their home in Delhi, close to the Mehrauli forest.
Aaftab Poonawala allegedly killed Shraddha Walkar on May 18 and cut up her body into 35 pieces, which he stored in a fridge bought for the purpose and dumped bit by bit, over 18 days, in the forests near their Chhatarpur apartment.
He had recced the forests before the murder, police sources say. The police have found some of the body parts but are still looking for some.
So far, their evidence against Aaftab Poonawala constitutes body parts, bones, bloodstains and clothes.
His custody ends on Saturday, after which a court will decide on extending it until the case goes to trial. Sources flagged two big lapses that could challenge investigators.
The biggest mistake was made in 2020, when the police in Maharashtra failed to act on a detailed letter in which Shraddha Walkar had alleged abuse by Aaftab Poonawala and had revealed that he had threatened to kill her and chop up her body into pieces.
Much time was also wasted as the Mumbai Police failed to communicate Shraddha Walkar’s father’s “missing” complaint to the Delhi Police back in September. The Mumbai Police did call Aaftab Poonawala for questioning, but was reportedly not very aggressive. It would take two more months before the crime was finally revealed in November.
Aaftab Poonawala and Shraddha Walkar met on the dating site Bumble and moved in together to a rented accommodation in Chhatarpur as the relationship grew.
On receipt of the complaint from Shraddha Walkar’s father, Delhi Police filed a first information report (FIR) on November 10.
Subsequent interrogation of the accused revealed that Aaftab Poonawala killed Shraddha Walkar on May 18, after which he started researching ways to dispose of the body. He also borrowed ideas on disposal from popular crime shows on his streaming devices, Delhi Police revealed.
He told police that he read up on human anatomy before chopping his girlfriend’s body.
The police said after browsing on the internet for ways to remove all traces of his crime, Aaftab Poonawala mopped blood stains from the floor of the couple’s Chhatarpur apartment with some chemicals and also disposed of all stained clothes.
He then shifted the body to the bathroom and bought a refrigerator where he hoarded the chopped body parts, police further informed.
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