New Delhi: Police have found CCTV footage showing the movements of Aftab Poonawala, who’s been accused of killing his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, from around Chattarpur Pahari area, ThePrint has learnt.
The footage is from May around the time of the murder, sources in the Delhi Police said.
It, however, doesn’t throw light on what he was doing, the sources said, adding that investigators are now trying to retrieve more tapes to help them with their probe. CCTV mapping was being used to trace the route Poonawala had taken, they said.
Blood traces were found around the couple’s house, the sources said, adding that DNA samples were being taken from Shraddha’s father Vikas Walkar.
“We are analysing CCTV footage to ascertain the routes taken by Aftab and the exact time frame [in the case]. [We’re also trying to see] if he took any detours and how much time he took in disposing of the body parts,” one of the sources said.
The development comes four days after Poonawala was arrested on charges of murdering Shraddha.
Police suspect that after he allegedly killed his live-in partner in a fit of rage on 18 May, Poonawala chopped her body and stored the remains in a refrigerator bought for that purpose. Over the next few months, he allegedly made several night trips, taking body parts in polybags to three places around the area — including the Mehrauli jungle — to dump them.
Following Poonawala’s alleged confession, police claim to have found 13 pieces of bones which were sent for forensic examination.
‘Couple fought even on day of crime’
To dump the body parts, Poonawala would have had to cross a street full of houses and shops, enter through a hole in a damaged wall, and cross a dump yard for entering the jungle where the bones were found.
In the Mehrauli jungle, the terrain’s muddy and uneven while the vegetation gets thicker as one goes deeper. Since the news broke two days ago, three plain-clothes policemen have been assigned to guard the entry point to the jungle to prevent the public from entering.
Walking to it through the bustling lanes of Chattarpur Pahari — an area known for its young crowd, many of them tenants — would have taken some time. But at 2 am — the time that Poonawala is suspected to have normally chosen for his trips — the journey would have seemingly taken no longer than 15 minutes.
At 8 am on Wednesday, a team of 20-25 policemen scoured the green stretch, the police source said. Poonawala, who had previously been taken to the spot, wasn’t with them this time.
Sources in the Delhi Police have told ThePrint that not all was well between the couple. The two, who met through a dating app in 2019 and moved to Delhi on 8 May after facing opposition from Shraddha’s family, allegedly shared a toxic relationship and quarreled frequently.
On 18 May — the day of the murder — the two fought over some chats found on Poonawala’s phone, police sources had told ThePrint.
The police source told ThePrint that the couple even broke up during one of their several fights but decided to live as flatmates.
“They had gone to Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to take a break and sort things out. In Delhi as well, they had multiple fights,” a police source told ThePrint. “On the day of the murder, they also fought over who will go to Mumbai to bring their belongings.”
Poonawala allegedly strangled Shraddha in the evening.
Investigators have found a bag containing Shraddha’s belongings in the house. This is significant because Poonawala had told the Mumbai Police, which tracked down Shraddha’s location to Delhi, that his partner had left him.
Poonawala allegedly transferred Rs 54,000 from Shraddha’s bank account to his account on 26 May. It was this bank account — as well as his constantly changing statements about her whereabouts — that led investigators on to him, the police source said.
The accused also told his interrogators that he had dumped his blood-stained clothes into a garbage truck, the police source said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police submitted a petition for conducting a narco-analysis test on Poonawala before a local court.
For context, narco analysis is a test that involves the intravenous administration of a drug to induce a hypnotic state in a subject. Under the Indian law, conducting this test requires both the court’s permission and the subject’s written consent.
(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)