Aaftab Poonawala, the 28-year-old accused of killing his 27-year-old live-in partner Shraddha Walkar on May 18, chopping her body into over 30 parts and disposing them over 2-3 months, is learnt to have told police the two had recently been arguing over who would go to Mumbai to fetch their luggage to Delhi – since both of them were facing a cash crunch.
While Delhi police are taking everything with a grain of salt – on Wednesday they moved an application in court to conduct a narco test on Aaftab – investigators say he has pointed to money issues becoming a factor in the couple’s relationship of late, since both had left their jobs in Mumbai and backpacked across Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand before they came to Delhi and took up a house on rent for Rs 9,000.
Aaftab is learnt to have told police he refused Walkar’s request to fetch their belongings from Mumbai, and had also been urging her to vacate their shared apartment in South Delhi’s Chattarpur Pahadi.
A senior police officer said, “He claims they both fought and broke up some time back, but decided to stay as flatmates till one of them got a job. We can’t entirely rely on his statements because he could also be trying to mislead us. We have asked the court for permission to conduct a narco-analysis test on him.”
Four days after arresting Poonawala, the police are now staring at a series of challenges — from the murder weapon not being recovered to Walkar’s phone still missing, and key body parts of the victims unlocated.
However, investigators are making some progress. On Wednesday, they said they had managed to recover some CCTV footage from Chattarpur Pahadi area. An officer said it had captured some “movement” of the accused but his activities aren’t entirely clear. The police will now conduct CCTV mapping to connect the visuals and ascertain the path/route taken by him.
“Based on his confession, it has been pointed out that he would allegedly walk out with the body pieces at 1-2 am at night. We are now looking for the exact footage and if something is seen in his hands. It is a difficult task to recover all the CCTV footage from May because most of the systems don’t have the storage capacity that can be accessed for older footage. We have still managed to get some visuals from the area from that time,” said the officer.
During searches at the couple’s rented home at Chattarpur Pahadi, police also said they have recovered two potential pieces of evidence that can help them in their investigation. First are “traces of blood” that have been lifted by the forensic lab team and sent for DNA testing, and the second is a bag which allegedly belonged to Shraddha.
“We have taken her father’s DNA sample to match with the blood sample. We have also found a bag with clothes and other articles. We will show these to her family so they can identify if it belonged to their daughter,” said an officer.
Police have also learnt that soon after the murder, the accused allegedly transferred Rs 54,000 from Shraddha’s account to his.
Police have formed an audit team comprising several ACPs from different teams to help with the investigation. They again visited the forest area, where the body parts are suspected to have been thrown, on Wednesday.