A 28-year-old man has been arrested by Delhi Police for allegedly killing his live-in partner in Delhi's Chhattarpur, chopping her body into at least 35 parts, and disposing them off in different locations in the Capital.
The accused, Aaftab Poonawala has been remanded to five-day police custody for the murder of Shraddha Walkar, who was also in her late 20s, said Additional DCP (South) Ankit Chauhan on Monday, 14 November.
As per the Delhi Police, the couple, who hailed from Mumbai, had shifted to Delhi around May this year. "The murder took place in mid-May... We filed a case and initiated investigation after the Mumbai Police approached us with a missing persons report (for Shraddha) on 8 November," ADCP Chauhan said.
'Couple Moved to Delhi From Mumbai After Families Objected to Relationship': Police
Poonawala and Walkar met each other in 2019 through a dating app, as per the police, and had private jobs. Chauhan told The Quint, "In Delhi too, the two had private jobs."
The couple shifted to Delhi after their families opposed their relationship, and started living in a rented accommodation in south Delhi's Chhattarpur, as per ADCP Chauhan.
"They came to Delhi in April end-May first week. Before that, they had gone to a hill station together," the official said.
ADCP Chauhan further alleged that the couple quarrelled frequently, and "it used to get out of control. In this particular instance, the man lost his temper and killed her. The murder took place in mid-May."
He claimed that Poonawala killed Walkar after she suspected him of infidelity, which had resulted in a fight.
How Was the Murder Discovered?
While Walkar was murdered in May, it was only six months later that her death came to be known, as she was not in touch with anyone in her family. "The woman's mother had passed away a few years ago. She was barely in touch with her father and brother. Her parents were estranged before the mother passed away. So, no one found out that she had been missing for so long," ADCP Chauhan told The Quint.
In September, a friend of Walkar's informed her brother that the two friends had not been in touch for 2.5 months, and that her mobile phone was switched off. On 14 September, her father, a resident of Palghar, lodged a complaint at Manik Pur police station in Mumbai.
"The victim's father said that the friends of the woman had not been able to contact her and that she had not been active on social media either," the Delhi Police said in a briefing.
The Mumbai police informed Delhi police on 8 November. ADCP Chauhan alleged that they then questioned Poonawala who "admitted that he had murdered Walkar."
"After the Mumbai police came to us on 8 November, we filed an FIR and initiated action. We traced her live-in partner. When we brought her live-in partner for questioning, he initially said that there was a fight between the two of them after which Walkar left. When we questioned more, he confessed that Walkar was with him and that he murdered her. He had strangled her."Additional DCP-I (South district) Ankit Chauhan
After Poonawala's statement, an FIR was registered in the case under sections 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the Indian Penal Code on 10 November.
How Did the Accused Dispose Off the Body?
ADCP Ankit Chauhan alleged that after the accused killed her, "he cut her body into multiple parts and disposed them off in different places. He also purchased a fridge where he kept her body parts."
"Though he tightly packed parts of the chopped body in polythenes that he stored in a fridge, he also bought incense sticks to cover up the stench."ADCP Ankit Chauhan told The Quint
As per reports, Poonawala chopped his partner's body into 35 pieces with a sharp weapon he had bought, and would step out at 2 am over the course of several weeks to dispose off the parts.
"Some evidence has been recovered from around their residence – from the jungle and the dumping ground. They are being examined and linked," the ADCP said. He noted that the remains retrieved by the police are highly decomposed, consisting only of bones and no tissue. They are being sent to the forensic lab for further probe.