(Trigger warning: Description of violence, gory details.)
“…Tortured and tormented Shraddha decided to break up with the accused several times but she could not because she had no support system and she was largely banking on the accused, or rather, she was at no return point.”
This is one of the things that the Delhi Police has written in its 6,600-page-long charge sheet in relation to the Shraddha Walkar murder case.
The gruesome murder of 28-year-old Walkar, allegedly by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala, in Delhi, came to light in November 2022 – six months after the incident. The Delhi police submitted the charge sheet in a Delhi court in January this year and it has testimonies of 182 people.
Walkar was killed on 18 May at the couple’s rented accommodation in south Delhi’s Chhattarpur Pahari area. Her body was chopped into at least 35 pieces and strewn across the dense Mehrauli jungle, and as per the charge sheet, so far 20 pieces have been recovered.
The charge sheet claims how Poonawala ordered a single “chicken roll” hours after the murder, his increased usage of water on 19, 20 and 21 May to wash off blood stains, his alleged attempts at building an alibi via a dating app match, and how he misled the police during the investigation.
Here’s what the charge sheet says:
'Poonawala Misled Police'
After Poonwala was interrogated at length, he alleged that his previous disclosure statement was “partially correct” and that he “tried to mislead the police by giving a false statement that after murdering Shraddha… I had cut her into pieces and burnt the bones and after grinding those by stone grinder had blown/thrown the power away.”
As per police’s claims, during interrogation, Poonawala alleged that “over the four-five days, I cut the dead body into 17 pieces… I used to dispose off the body parts one by one as per my convenience.”
A day later, he allegedly told police, he bought a fridge to prevent the body parts from decomposing and causing a stench.Expand
'After her Murder, Poonawala Gifted Walkar’s Ring to Woman He Met on Dating App'
The charge sheet claims that Poonwala told police that on 24 May – a week after he allegedly killed Walkar – he met another woman on dating app Bumble, who used to visit his flat.
“Whenever she would visit, I used to clean the fridge and put the body parts of Shraddha in the lower cabinet of the kitchen. After she would leave, I would keep the parts (back) in the fridge,” alleged Poonwala to the police, as per the charge sheet’s claims.
The police has claimed that Poonawala “gifted this woman a silver ring he had recovered from the body of Shraddha after committing her murder.” The charge sheet states that the ring has been recovered from the woman.Expand
'Tried to Build an Alibi Via a Dating App Match'
Five days before Walkar was killed, the couple met a woman via a Bumble match, who allegedly helped them in getting the flat in Chattarpur Pahari on rent. The police has claimed in the charge sheet that a day after Poonwala allegedly killed Walkar, he informed this woman that the couple “had a fight… and now she (Shraddha) is not with him and has moved out.” Poonwala allegedly told this woman that he had been blocked by Walkar and that he’s unable to contact her.
In a bid to “create an alibi that Walkar had left him,” Poonawala allegedly asked this woman to contact Walkar as her phone was off. Police claims, “Thereafter this woman Whatsapped Walkar and it was replied that she was not in the city and she was heading to Rishikesh on a trip and she was not sure whether she would come back to Delhi or not as she has ended her relationship and does not want to be around Poonawala. Further, that she was with someone and he was keeping her safe.”
Police claims that “this message had actually been replied by Poonawala after the death of Walkar… He was trying to make an alibi that Walkar had left him. Actually, he had already murdered her and was chatting with this woman using his phone as well as Walkar’s.”
The charge sheet alleges that though Poonwala had stated that Walkar had moved out, “the location of her phone was still alongside his, as also confirmed by the GPS locations of her Bumble account.”Expand
'Lunch for Two, Dinner for One on Day of Murder'
In the charge sheet, the police has claimed that on the day of the murder, Poonwala allegedly “ordered food from Zomato for lunch that would suffice for two people. The same night, however, he ordered a single chicken roll, implying thereby that on the afternoon of 18 May, Walkar was alive, while at night, she was dead as food was ordered only for one person.”
A day later, the accused allegedly bought a knife, a chopper, half kg black trash bags, a fridge and its stand. He also allegedly ordered two bottles of Harpic toilet cleaner bleach, Harpic liquid toilet cleaner, Godrej hand wash, two glass cleaners, and a chopping board.
Police has also claimed that there was “scarcity of water at home and to clean the blood, the accused needed water. So, on 19 May, he bought six 20 litre bottles of water; and on 20 and 21 May, he bought five bottles of water each. He also contributed Rs 300 out of Rs 600 to another tenant in the building who had ordered a water tanker on 22 May.”
After this, police claimed, the frequency went down to “one or two bottles that too after several days.”
As per the charge sheet’s claims, the accused bought 11 kg dry ice two days after the murder. “It is pertinent to note that dry ice is used primarily as a cooling agent. It is useful for preserving frozen foods. Accused needed this dry ice to preserve the body parts of Walkar,” claims the charge sheet.Expand
‘Walkar Lived under Constant Fear of Getting Killed by Poonawala’
The Delhi police has claimed that Poonwala “used to beat Walkar mercilessly and at times used to strangulate her almost to death. She had no support system as she was living with him against the will of her brother and father.”
She did speak to a school friend about her life, police said. A complaint that Walkar filed at Tulinj police station in Maharashtra dated 23 November 2020 finds mention in the charge sheet. “On one such occasion, when she was badly beaten up by Poonawala, she informed her school friend” who visited her with other friends, and she left with them.
In the complaint, she wrote that Poonawala had been “abusing me and been beating me up… Today, he tried to kill me by suffocating me and he scares and blackmails me that he will kill me, cut me up into pieces and throw me away. It’s been six months… I don’t have the guts to go to police because he would threaten to kill me… I am not willing to live with him. So, any kind of physical damage should be considered coming from him.”
The charge sheet also mentions another instance of Walkar telling her school friend of “injury marks,” and how she fears for her life” in July 2021. There’s also mention of how an ex-colleague told the police that in November 2020, she allegedly informed him that “Poonwala beat her up and so she will not be able to come to office. She sent a photo to the colleague on WhatsApp and there were injury marks on her face, throat and cheek.”Expand
Last Few Hours of Walkar’s Life
As per police, Walkar was not at the couple’s rented home on 17 May, and returned a day later at around 1.50 pm. The charge sheet claims that after reaching home, the accused argued with Poonwala at around 2 pm, as corroborated by a neighbour. “…While arguing with each other, they went upstairs,” is what the eye witness claims to have told the police.
The police claims that another eyewitness told them that the same day, he saw Poonwala and Walkar argue near the staircase. “The girl was trying to come downstairs but the boy was holding her hand. When Poonawala saw him in the lane, he dragged Walkar inside the flat,” claims police.Expand