Delhi Murder: Accused 'Lied' to Parents About Breaking Up With Shraddha Walkar
Aaftab Poonawala, who allegedly murdered his live-in partner Shraddha, was a food blogger with 28,000 followers.
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Rajbir Singh
(Trigger Warning: Description of violence. Reader discretion advised.)
Aaftab Amin Poonawala did not inform his family that he had moved to Delhi from Mumbai till two months after he allegedly murdered Shraddha Walkar.
"His parents did not approve of Aaftab's relationship with Shraddha. He did not tell them that he was moving with to Delhi," a family friend of Poonawala, who did not want to be named, told The Quint.
The couple had shifted to Delhi in May 2022, after their families opposed their interfaith relationship. Days later, he killed his live-in partner in Delhi's Chhattarpur in mid-May, chopped her body into at least 35 parts, and disposed of them in different locations in the capital city in the months that followed.
Poonawala also lied to his parents about breaking up with her.
"In July, he told his parents that he has broken up with her, and has moved to Delhi," he added. "None of us suspected anything, until his parents were called to Vasai police station after a missing person's complaint was filed."
Poonawala was arrested on 12 November.
Scrutiny of Aaftab Amin Poonawala's social media profiles and conversations with his friends after the gruesome murder came to light reveal nothing that could have predicted the crime. Neither did his friends suspect what was coming.
Who Is Aaftab Poonawala?
Aaftab Poonawala belongs to the Khoja community and hails from Vasai – the same area where Walkar resided.
His family – parents and a younger brother – had been living in Vasai West till about 3-4 months ago, when they shifted to Mira Road, The Quint has learnt. Poonawala's mother is a housewife, while the father is engaged in a wholesale business of shoes.
Poonawala completed his schooling from St Francis School in Vasai. He then went on to study Bachelor of Business Management at LS Raheja College of Arts & Commerce in Mumbai, but did not complete his degree and left the college after one and a half years, as per the family friend.
Food Blogger With 28k Followers, Poonawala Had Worked With Luxury Hotels
Aside from his day job at a call center, Poonawala claims on his social media profiles to be a food photographer and F&B consultant who has worked with luxury hotel groups.
Poonawala ran a food blog called @hungrychokro_escapades on Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram, the page has more than 28,000 followers.
The blog was seemingly managed by Aaftab and his brother. "Hungrychokro Escapades is a blog operated by two brothers one a photographer and other a culinary professional," the blog states.
Poonawala's interest in food appears to be an old one, with recipes on his blog dating back to 2017. While the blog had been quite active and had over 600 features, there are no posts from after February this year.
"He was not really active on his blog after March this year. I used to text him about it a couple of times, and as we are in same line of work. But I was not in touch with him after they moved to Delhi," a Mumbai-based food blogger, who knew Aaftab professionally, told The Quint.
In addition to food, Poonawala would post about women's rights and climate emergency, among other social issues, on social media.
Rocky Relationship With Shraddha, Strange Calm After Murder
Rajat Shukla, a friend of Walkar's, has alleged that Aaftab frequently used to beat her.
"Initially, they lived happily, then Shraddha started telling that Aaftab beats her. She wanted to leave him but couldn't do so," he told news agency ANI on Monday, 14 November.
ADCP Chauhan said that the couple quarreled 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."
The police official claimed that Poonawala had killed Walkar after she suspected him of infidelity, which had resulted in a fight.
After the murder, the accused had apparently gone about his life as usual. He had reportedly remained in his job and dated other women, even bringing them to the same flat which housed Walkar's remains, multiple reports pointed.
An FIR was registered against Poonawala 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 by the Delhi Police, after he allegedly confessed to the crime.
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