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Body parts of woman found in Mehrauli jungle, boyfriend ‘strangled, chopped her in 35 pieces’

Aftab Poonawalla, 28, allegedly chopped up girlfriend Shraddha Walkar into 35 pieces after the couple fought over marriage, trust and money issues.

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New Delhi: Residents of Gali Number 1 in Chhatarpur Pahadi spilled on the streets Monday as news broke that one of their neighbours had chopped his live-in girlfriend in 35 pieces and scattered her body across Delhi.

A woman who lived a floor above the crime scene – a one-bedroom apartment – said she would frequently meet the accused, but would have never guessed the horrific secret he kept.

A pungent smell wafted out of the sealed flat on Monday, where 28-year-old Aftab Poonawalla allegedly strangled his girlfriend Shraddha Walkar on 18 May. A day after, he bought a fridge and paid the dealer Rs 19,000 online, to store the body and continued to use it normally, the police source said.

The fridge hid the smell of the rotting flesh as Aftab continued to dice up the body in the next two days. Over the next few months, he threw the pieces — some in the Mehrauli jungle, some in a dumping ground and in drains.

Aftab was arrested by the Delhi Police on Saturday and has apparently confessed to the murder, saying he cut up his girlfriend in in 35 pieces. Sources said 13 pieces — suspected to be of the dead girl’s — have been found in the jungle so far.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Ankit Chauhan told ThePrint that “several body parts” had been recovered from the jungle after Aftab guided them to the exact locations.

The cops swung into action last week after Shraddha’s Mumbai-based father lodged a first information report on his missing daughter on 10 November.

According to the police, Aftab and Shraddha met on a dating app in Mumbai circa 2019. The Walkar family objected to the affair, and Shraddha moved out of her home and took up residence with Aftab in Vasai.

Shraddha was estranged from the family in 2019 because of her decision to continue the affair with Aftab.

The duo shifted to Delhi earlier this year, the police said, and rented the one-bedroom apartment in Chhatarpur, the police said.

On 18 May, Aftab allegedly killed Shraddha in an attempt to shut her up after a fight. Sources said the couple often quarrelled over marriage, trust and money issues.

“He kept the body for months in the fridge after the crime,” Ankit Chauhan said.

In August, Shraddha’s friend alerted her brother that she had not heard from her for two months.

After investigation, the police found Aftab’s last location to be Delhi.

Also read: Delhi Police nabs 3 for murder of Dera Sacha Sauda member accused in Bargari sacrilege case

On 10 November, Shraddha’s father Vikas Madaan Walkar lodged the FIR with the Delhi Police, stating that he suspected Aftab behind his daughter’s disappearance.

Aftab was detained and he confessed to the crime. But initially, he had told the police that Shraddha left him.

In his complaint, the father said: “In 2018, my daughter worked in a call centre and so did Aftab Amin Poonwala. She told my wife in 2019 that she wants to stay with him in a live-in relationship, which we were against as he was Muslim and we are Hindus and do not do inter-caste marriages.”

“To this, my daughter said that she was 25 and could make her own decisions… and wanted to stay in a live-in (arrangement) with him. We tried to stop her but she left. From her friends, I came to know that she lived in Wasai with Aftab. At times, she would tell her mother that Aftab fought with her and even got violent. A few days before my wife’s death in 2020, she also told me that Aftab had beat her up. But when I told her to come home, Aftab convinced her to stay on with him,” he said.

The family realised Shraddha had gone missing when her friend called her brother on 14 August to inquire about her whereabouts.

The father said in the FIR: “Her friends also told me that they fight and their relationship was not good. I did not speak to my daughter for months after that. On 14 August, Shradha’s friend called her brother saying that her phone had been off for 2 months. Since her phone was not reachable, I went to the police station and got a missing complaint registered,” he said. “I am certain that Aftab is responsible for her disappearance and has done something to her,” he said in the FIR.

The Delhi Police swung into action last week after Shraddha’s Maharashtra-based father lodged an FIR on 10 November. He had approached the Mumbai Police in October, when thelocation of Aftab’s mobile was traced to Delhi. The case file was transferred to Delhi Police in November.

The locked doors of the flat where the couple resided| ThePrint photo | Bismee Taskin
The locked doors of the flat where the couple resided| ThePrint photo | Bismee Taskin

‘We thought they had broken up’

Neighbour Kusum Lata, who has lived in the area for decades, said, “We have never seen the girl, only the boy.”

“They would fight after playing loud music. The fights would go on for hours. A lot of houses here are rented out. We don’t interfere in people’s fights,” Lata added.

Lata’s 17-year-old daughter said, “I have only seen the boy. The girl never stepped out. She would hardly even come to the balcony.”

Another neighbor Balbir Kaur said, “A lot of men and women came to the house earlier. But then it stopped. We thought they had broken up.”

The apartment has been sealed by the police. Through the window, one could see clothes kept for drying on a rack, while some lay on the floor. There were some dried red petals in a teal bowl. The couple had rented the flat on 9 May.

Prem Gautam, 66, who moved here 25 years ago, said she had heard a lot of commotion once in the summer but thought young people were partying in the flat.

(This is an updated version of the copy.)

Also read: ‘Third such claim, no internal injuries’ — evidence of ‘frame-up’ grows in Ghaziabad rape case


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