The Delhi Police have arrested a 28-year-old man for allegedly killing his live-in partner, chopping her body into pieces and throwing them at different places in the city over several months, ANI reported on Monday.
The man, Aftab Poonawalla, was arrested on Saturday and sent to police custody for five days by a Delhi court. He has been booked for murder and causing disappearance of evidence.
The police said that Poonawalla strangulated his girlfriend Shraddha Walkar on May 18, cut her body into 35 pieces and disposed of the body parts in a forest in South Delhi.
The woman’s father Vikas Walkar, who lives in the Palghar district near Mumbai, had filed a police complaint about his missing daughter in October, The Hindu reported. The complaint was filed in Mumbai, but was transferred to the Mehrauli police station in Delhi on November 8.
The missing complaint was converted into a first information report under abduction charges after authorities tracked down Shraddha’s phone to a house in Delhi’s Chattarpur, where she had been living in with Poonawalla.
According to the police, Poonawalla first claimed that Shraddha had left him, but later admitted to having killed her. An unidentified official told The Hindu that the police took him to the forest and made him recreate the sequence of events.
Officials have reportedly found 12 body parts, which have been sent for examination to ascertain whether they are all human remains.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police-I South Delhi Ankit Chauhan said that Poonawalla and Shraddha met through a dating app in Mumbai. He said that the couple had been in a live-in relationship for three years.
The two had moved to Delhi as the woman’s family was opposed to their inter-faith relationship, according to NDTV. Vikas Walkar reportedly told the police that he had not been speaking to his daughter due to disagreement over the choice of her partner.
The deputy commissioner of police said that soon after the couple shifted to Delhi, Shraddha began to persuade Poonawalla to marry her. “The two quarrelled frequently and it used to get out of control.,” he said. “In this particular instance that occurred on May 18, the man lost his temper and strangled her.”
Chauhan said that Poonawalla kept the body in the house for two days, and then began to cut it with a saw. The official added that the accused man bought a fridge in order to store the body parts.
An unidentified police official alleged that Poonawalla used room fresheners and incense sticks to suppress the stench of rotten flesh. “He used to wrap the body parts in a plastic bag, put them inside a backpack and around 2 a.m., he used to walk to the forest and throw the packet,” the official said.
The police also alleged that he had searched for ways to clean blood stains and destroy evidence on the internet.
Shraddha’s father has sought the death penalty for Poonawalla, according to ANI.
“I trust Delhi Police and the probe is moving in the right direction,” he said. “Shraddha was close to her uncle and didn’t talk to me much. I was never in touch with Aftab.”
Women’s panels take cognisance
National Commission for Women’s Chairperson Rekha Sharma on Monday wrote to the Delhi Commissioner of Police and urged him to carry out a fair and time-bound investigation. She also asked the police to submit an action taken report to it, and provide a copy of Shraddha’s medical reports.
The Delhi Commission for Women asked the police to provide a copy of the first information report and details of action taken in the case.
The panel’s chairperson Swati Maliwal called for strict punishment for the crime.