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Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

Tracing Aaftab Poonawala’s 20-minute path – from his flat to where he disposed of Shraddha Walkar’s body parts

On Tuesday morning, police took Aaftab to the nearby Mehrauli jungle as part of their investigation.

A few sparse trees and a small stream quickly give way to a jungle, where a series of rough, stony paths criss-cross the hilly terrain. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

In a lane in Mehrauli’s Chattarpur Pahadi area, there is an unremarkable green apartment building, like many others in the city. But it was this building that played host to the horrific murder of Shraddha Walkar (27), allegedly by her live-in partner, Aaftab Poonawala (28), on May 18.

On Tuesday morning, police took Aaftab, his face obscured by a scarf, to the nearby Mehrauli jungle where he had allegedly disposed of her dismembered remains over a period of two-three months. While Tuesday’s search did not yield results, during previous searches police have recovered 13 possible body parts, mostly in the form of bones.

A map of the path.

The street outside the apartment is sloped and narrow, characteristic of many of Mehrauli’s lanes, built on mountainous ground. The area is mostly residential, with the occasional shops. As Aaftab went out in the early hours of the morning to allegedly dispose of Shradhha’s remains in polythene bags, usually from 1 am to 2 am, few residents would have been awake to see him. Police have also said that the area is home to many young tenants, who are out during odd hours, which is why Aaftab’s alleged movements would not have evoked suspicion.

As one makes their way out of the lane to the main road that leads straight to the forest, one has to make their way through a busy main road, passing houses, stores, mechanic garages, and a clinic. Then one reaches the T-point a few minutes’ walk away from the jungle, and has to cross an unkempt section of road where garbage is gathered for disposal. The entire walk takes about 20 minutes on a busy afternoon. On a quiet night, one can likely do so faster.

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A few sparse trees and a small stream quickly give way to a jungle, where a series of rough, stony paths criss-cross the hilly terrain. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

Quick access to the Mehrauli forest in the immediate vicinity is blocked by walls in most places, except for one place where the wall is broken. There, a garbage strewn slope leads down to the forest. A few sparse trees and a small stream quickly give way to a jungle, where a series of rough, stony paths criss-cross the hilly terrain.

The foliage is often dense and thorny, and in many places, is dark even under the afternoon sun. Often, the forest is too thick to see anything more than ten feet away from the beaten path, even as the sound of traffic is still audible from the nearby road.

 

First published on: 15-11-2022 at 07:05:44 pm
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