A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has been moved before the Delhi High Court, seeking a transfer of the investigation in the Shraddha Walkar murder case by the Delhi Police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The PIL moved by a practising advocate Joshini Tuli states she has moved the plea after witnessing the proceedings before a Delhi court on November 17 wherein the Delhi Police was allowed to conduct a narco analysis test on Aaftab Poonawala, 28, who has been accused of killing his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, wherein Poonawala consented to the test.
Metropolitan Magistrate Aviral Shukla, who presided over the hearing, remanded Aftaab to five-day police custody. The judge conducted the proceedings through video conferencing after police said “some religious organisations and miscreants may attack” the accused.
The PIL before the Delhi High Court states Tuli wrote to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and CBI on November 18 requesting for the transfer of investigation from the Delhi Police “due to the sensitive nature of the case and the hampering of investigation and tampering of witnesses and evidences of the present case by the Delhi Police/ Respondent No.1 and Respondent No.4”.
According to the plea, “minute and sensitive details of the investigation” by the Delhi Police have so far been revealed to the “public through the media”. The petition contends that the presence of media and other public persons at the “place of recoveries, court hearings etc.” of any accused amounts to interference with the evidences and witnesses in the case.
“…these type of sensitive cases like Rape and murder of a 14 year old girl in Noida on 7.06.2022 on the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court which took place in Sorkha village was handed to the CBI, and Murder of Elderly couple(Brajendra Gupta and Shano) in Lucknow was solved by the CBI after a gap of 7 years, Tapan Kandu Murder case etc involving heinous murders of sensitive nature were earlier investigated by CBI/Respondent No. 3 as the crime committed were of sensitive nature and were heinous offences,” the petition states.
The plea also claims that the alleged place of the crime has not been sealed by the Delhi Police to date which is continuously being accessed by the people and media personnel and has been contaminated. It further states that the case is an interstate offence beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the Delhi Police because they have disclosed to the media they are going to take Aaftab to five different states, including Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra, for further investigation.
The plea also alleges that the forensic evidence in the case has not been preserved properly by the Delhi Police since all the alleged recoveries are being touched and accessed by different public persons and media personnel within the Mehrauli police station, alleged scene of crime i.e. house of the deceased, place of recoveries i.e. Mehrauli, Chhattarpur forest etc. which are clearly evident in the various news coverage of the present case.
The plea further alleges that the leaking of evidence and material witnesses to the media and public persons has led to the conduct of a media trial wherein the media and public are already “demanding hanging of the Accused Aftab Poonawalla without a trial which is a right guaranteed under the Indian Constitution and Indian Laws”.
Aaftab has been accused of chopping the body of Shraddha, 27, into more than 30 parts after a fight in May this year and disposing of them over two-three months. The Delhi Police have booked him under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).