In May, Aftab Poonawala reportedly strangled and dismembered Shraddha Walkar, his live-in girlfriend. Police claim that he kept her body parts in storage for months and even took a date to the apartment.
In New Delhi: ThePrint has learned that the guy accused of murdering and dismembering his live-in spouse into 35 pieces reportedly brought home another lady he was dating while the deceased partner’s body parts were still kept in his refrigerator.
According to a Delhi Police source, the suspect, 28-year-old Aftab Amin Poonawala, had met a different lady through a dating app and took her to the couple’s apartment where his dead girlfriend’s head and torso were stashed away in his refrigerator. Additionally, he had connected with Shraddha Walkar, 27, using a dating app.
On the basis of a missing person report submitted by Walkar’s parents, Poonawala was detained on November 12 and charged with murder.
Police assert that on May 18, following a dispute, he killed her. Only a few days prior to the murder, the couple, who were from middle-class Maharashtrian families, relocated to Delhi and rented a home in Chhartarpur, according to the source.
The insider stated that he used a 1-foot-long saw to conduct the gruesome work and that his culinary training from a five-star hotel assisted him in chopping up her body into little pieces over the period of days.
Over the following months, he reportedly dispersed these body parts across Mehrauli, including forests and rubbish dumps, as well as a forested area close to his home in Chhattarpur Pahadi.
Additionally, Poonawala is accused of grinding her intestines into keema (minced meat) and keeping her body parts in a refrigerator he purchased especially for the job. According to the police source, the young man kept his stockpile of ice cream and cold beverages next to the body.
He started by throwing the intestines out of concern that the body might smell. He divided the corpse into little pieces that would fit inside the refrigerator, then tossed them out in 18 to 20 trips at 2 a.m. each night. The corpse and head were stored until August, according to the police source, who spoke to ThePrint.
After hacking up Walkar’s body, Poonawala, a fan of the American drama series Dexter about a serial killer leading a double life, allegedly informed his interrogators in the Delhi Police that he “wiped the floor with detergents and used agarbattis (incense sticks) to get rid of the nasty stench.”
Google searches for “how to clean blood” and “how to get rid of body” are purportedly ones made by the accused.
Poonawala allegedly talked to Walkar’s acquaintances on Instagram up to June 9 in an effort to avoid suspicion.
To ensure that her disappearance was not investigated, “he used her credit card to pay off her debts,” the police source claimed.
According to police, they have so far found 13 suspected body parts.
The woman’s father stated in his First Information Report submitted to the Delhi Police that he disapproved of his daughter’s interfaith engagement.
The police source said that they were “investigating all angles” when asked whether the crime had any communal overtones.
A murder and a love affair
Poonawala was a food photographer who advertised restaurants on Instagram. She was a graduate who had taken a degree in hotel administration. Photos of food are prevalent on his feed.
ThePrint was informed by police sources that Poonawala and Walkar first connected through a dating app in 2019 before working together at a contact centre. Despite the objections from Walkar’s family, the two allegedly agreed to move in together in the end, according to the police.
Following a tour to Himachal and Uttarakhand, the couple relocated to Delhi on May 8. Just three days before to the murder, on May 15, they moved into an apartment in Chhattarpur, according to police sources.
Poonawala purchased a refrigerator a day after killing Walkar, paying the dealer Rs 19,000 online to keep the victim’s body while continuing to use the appliance normally, according to a police source.
The informant claims that Poonawala travelled to Mehrauli about 27 times to dispose of the body pieces. Polythene bags allegedly included body pieces that he transported to the woods before emptying them out so that “animals might eat” on her flesh.
The report claimed that the man would just toss the bodies since he preferred the animals to dine on them. He would then place the black polythene bags in trash cans.
The informant said that he saved the head and torso for last since he purportedly got rid of them in August.
Poonawala is said to have met and been seeing someone else in the interim. The source stated that he even joined a call centre 15 days after the murder, adding that he “also got the female to the same flat.”
Relationship is toxic
Valentine’s Day was on February 14, and Walkar posted a picture of herself and her partner on Instagram. Happy pair was the caption on the picture.
But according to a Delhi Police source who spoke to ThePrint, the connection between Poonawala and Walkar was troubled from the start.
The pair allegedly battled the day she was slain because Walkar insisted on getting married. She then charged him with adultery.
They clashed about their marriage, their finances, and challenges with trust. The insider said that they would frequently ask each other to reveal their present position and video call. “The problem wasn’t only the marriage. As they were out of money, the two would quarrel over it. They also believed they were having extramarital affairs, the person claimed.
In the Chhattarpur Pahari neighbourhood, neighbours at Gali No 1 told ThePrint that while they routinely saw Poonawala, they had never seen Walkar. A week before she passed away, she shared her last Instagram photo of herself reading a book.
After receiving a tip from acquaintances who hadn’t heard from Walkar in months, Walkar’s family went to the Mumbai Police in October to report her missing.
The Mumbai Police allegedly invited Poonawala to Mumbai for questioning after following her mobile device to Delhi. They claim he informed them Walkar had broken up with him. According to accounts, he told the same tale to his landlord as well.
Days after receiving the case, on November 10, Delhi Police filed a First Information Report in response to a complaint made by Walkar’s father. Poonawala was detained after being questioned for two days. Police also seized the refrigerator that he is said to have kept the body in.