Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Wednesday that the government would investigate why “action was not taken” after Shraddha Walkar complained to police about threats made by her boyfriend Aaftab Poonawala, currently in custody for allegedly killing her.
“I have seen the letter written by Shraddha Walkar to police in 2020. We will thoroughly investigate the matter. We have to ascertain why no action was taken after receiving the letter,” said Fadnavis, who holds the home portfolio. “Had there been timely action, Shraddha would have been alive.”
Walkar, a Mumbai resident who was in a live-in relationship with Poonawala, was killed and cut into 30 pieces in May. As per a letter that Walkar wrote to police in 2020, she was frequently subjected to cruelty by Poonawala and he had threatened to kill her and cut her into pieces.
Police sources said the inquiry was dropped after Walkar retracted her complaint.
The ruling BJP, however, has questioned “the role of” the Uddhav Thackeray-led government of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, an alliance of the Congress, NCP and the Shiv Sena, which was in power in 2020. NCP leader Anil Deshmukh was the home minister till being replaced by Dilip Walse Patil.
Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar demanded an investigation to “unearth at whose behest the government had shielded Aaftab”. “Why did the MVA government not respond to the letter of a helpless woman who was a resident of Maharashtra?” he asked.
“On November 23, 2020, Shraddha Walkar informed the Maharashtra police that Aaftab was planning to kill her. She had sent a letter. The police acknowledged the letter,” he said. “The question is, why did police keep quiet? Why did they not take action against Aaftab?”
“Is this because the name of the one who complained was Shraddha Walkar and the name of the one who had threatened her was Aaftab?” the BJP leader asked.
“The Shiv Sena’s allies were the Congress and the NCP. Why did they not think it necessary to respond to the letter from a woman who was seeking help? At whose behest did they dismiss the letter? Who was trying to protect Aaftab? These are the questions that have to be answered,” he said.
“Those talking about the well-being of the Marathi manoos should explain why the MVA government did not feel it necessary to protect a vulnerable woman,” he said.
“If political pressure comes in the way of police action, it is a serious matter. Just because the perpetrator of a crime belongs to a certain community, you cannot go out of your way to shield him. Crime has no caste or religion,” Shelar said. “Unfortunately, it is a Marathi woman who paid with her life because of the MVA’s complacency.”
Another BJP leader said the party had urged the government to look into “the ‘love jihad’ angle” in the woman’s murder. “Instances of ‘love jihad’ have increased,” he said requesting anonymity.