Chandigarh, November 15th
Remaining active on Shraddha Walkar’s social media account and disposing of her body parts over several days was among the measures Aaftab Amin Poonawala allegedly took to cover up the murder of his partner.
But it was only a matter of time before his luck ran out and the police knocked on his door.
Even with his partner’s body in the fridge after he killed her, Aftab Poonawala reportedly got in touch with the other woman, a psychologist, on Bumble – the same dating app he first met her on in 2019, reports say.
This woman wasn’t the only one who had visited the house, however, as Walkar’s body was in the refrigerator. Poonawala met several women on the dating app and had a physical relationship with them after killing Walkar, some of his friends, food delivery men and many others visited the house.
The couple moved into the Mehrauli home in May. On the 18th of the month, they got into an argument and Poonawala tried to cover her mouth with his hand. He later allegedly strangled her, police said.
The next day he bought a saw and a 300 liter refrigerator inspired by the American crime thriller Dexter.
On May 20, he sawed her body into 35 pieces and threw them in the refrigerator.
Poonawala had studied hotel management and worked as a cook a few years ago. He had completed a two-week course in cutting flesh, which he used to dismember Walkar’s body.
“He cut her body for two days,” an official said.
Police said Poonawala would put the pieces in the fridge freezer and put the rest on the bottom shelf. After some time, he took out the frozen pieces to deep-freeze those kept in the bowl.
He also used incense sticks and room fresheners to quell the foul smell.
He used to take out the shredded pieces, put them in plastic bags and take them to the forest in a backpack. “He went into the jungle around 2am and returned a few hours later. He repeated this for about 20 days,” the official said.
Police say Poonawala is “perceptive” and was more comfortable answering them in English, even though he knew Hindi.
Poonawala and Walkar met through an online dating app. They later started working for the same call center in Mumbai and fell in love. But their families rejected the relationship as they were of different faiths, prompting the couple to move out of the financial capital.
They went to Himachal Pradesh and later arrived in Delhi. They stayed here for a day in a hotel in Paharganj and later moved to a hostel in Saidulajab, South Delhi.
On May 15th they moved to the house in Chhattarpur Pahadi.
Police said shortly after they moved into the south Delhi home, their relationship soured and they suspected each other of having affairs with other people.
Even after Walkar was allegedly killed, Poonawala continued to live in the same apartment and order food through online apps, police said.
Walkar has not been in touch with her family members after moving in with Poonawala, instead chatting with her friends on Instagram.
After Poonawala allegedly killed her, she posed as Walkar on the app and chatted with her friends until June 9.
When her status remained dormant for a long time afterwards, her friends informed her family members, who in turn contacted the police.
According to FIR, the victim’s father separated from her mother in 2016. The mother died a few years ago.
It also said Walkar informed her mother earlier that Poonawala had beaten her. About 15 to 20 days after her mother’s death, she called her father and informed him about it. She even met him in person later.
Quoting the victim’s father, FIR read: “When I asked her to leave Poonawala and come back home, he apologized to her and she went back with him. She didn’t listen to me, so I didn’t speak to her for several months.”
According to Ankit Chauhan, Supplemental DCP-I, Southern District, the victim’s father called Poonawala one day and was told the couple had parted ways some time ago.
“The father was unable to contact his daughter and filed a missing persons report,” Chauhan said.
After receiving the complaint, Mumbai police traced their last whereabouts to Delhi and also called Poonawala, whose conflicting statements raised suspicions, leading them to call in the Delhi police.
On November 7, Mumbai Police sent the case file to Delhi Police. They said Poonawala works at a call center in Gurugram and is said to be dating another woman.
His landlord has claimed that a tenant check was carried out before the house was allocated.
“He was steadfast during interrogation. But when his father came, the defendant burst into tears,” said an official.
With PTI inputs