Narco Test: A local court has allowed narco-analysis test to ascertain the lie of Aftab Poonawalla, 28, in the murder of his live-in partner Shraddha Walker, 26, and dismembering her body six months ago. His police custody was also extended by five days in Thursday’s hearing, and police are now planning to take him to Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh, where the couple had holidayed before moving to Delhi in May.
Some lawyers protested in the court, demanding their execution, though they were produced via video link as the police feared they would be attacked.
Police have been interrogating him since his arrest last Friday and he got five days’ custody on Saturday which ended today. The custody extension was sought as the police argued that vital evidence – such as Shraddha Walker’s mobile phone and the knife she used to cut her body – was yet to be collected.
So far, the police have had a “confession” in custody, which legal experts say, is not valid evidence unless produced before a judge and corroborated with other physical evidence. . The narco test can help fill this important gap.
Ahead of the 4 pm hearing, expecting that they would be brought in, a large group of lawyers were seen outside the courtroom, shouting “Hang him, hang him”. Some shouted, “Hang the jihadi.” The case has reignited the debate over “love jihad”, a term used by right-wing Muslim men to “lure” Hindu women into converting to Islam.
Although the crime was committed in May, the crime came to light only last month after Shraddha Walker’s father – who had not been in contact with her since last year as he opposed her inter-faith relationship – was told by her friends. After leaving went to the police. He didn’t have any contact with them either.
The couple, who met on the dating app Bumble around three years ago, moved to Delhi only in mid-May this year after living together in their hometown Vasai near Mumbai. On May 18, four days after moving into their rented flat in Mehrauli after an argument, Aftab strangled Shraddha, whose body he cut up, kept the pieces in a fridge, and kept them in the woods over the next 18 days. Dumped, police said.
Police say his confession led them to details. The clues leading to the incident are being investigated. As part of this, the police were keen on a narco-analysis test, which involves injecting a specific chemical into a suspect’s body to reduce their self-consciousness so that they can speak the truth.
DNA tests are also being conducted to ascertain whether the body parts found in the forest belong to Shraddha; The report will take two weeks, the police said.
But the knife or saw used to cut the body is yet to be traced. Most of his body parts are missing. Even the clothes worn by the couple on the day of the murder have not been found. Shraddha’s mobile phone has not been found.
In the list of evidence are bills to show that he bought the knife and fridge the day after the murder; bones found in the woods; blood stain in the kitchen; Aftab’s bank details of ₹54,000 recovered from Shraddha’s account; call records and location data from the phone; Shraddha’s bag from Flats; and the statements of his father and friends.
Father Vikas Walker has told IndiNews that Aftab confessed in his presence. “The police asked him, ‘do you know him’? He said, ‘yes, he is Shraddha’s father’. Then he immediately started saying. ‘Shraddha is no more.’ I collapsed there. I could not hear anything else. Then he was taken away. I was not in a position to hear it,” he said.
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