NEW DELHI: Police are frantically searching for the head of Shraddha Walkar, the 26-year-old woman who was allegedly killed by Aaftab Poonawala in May this year. While dismembering her body into 35 parts, Poonawala may not have been able to mutilate the head and the cops feel that its recovery will aid in establishing the victim’s identity.
Poonawala has apparently confessed to his interrogators that he chopped Walkar’s body into pieces and got rid of them one or two at a time. He is claimed to have said that he kept the victim’s head in the refrigerator and often looked at it in memory of their relationship. He told the cops he dumped Walkar’s head at the very end of his gruesome effort to get rid of his live-in partner’s corpse.
Once the head is found, the cops plan to establish the victim’s identity using the skull superimposition technology. For now, their only hope is a DNA match with Vikas Walkar, her father. They have sent the bones recovered till date for DNA sampling and the report is awaited.
Police sources said that Poonawala allegedly used orthoboric acid (boric powder), formaldehyde and sulphuric acid and some other chemicals during the course of chopping, storing and disposing of the body parts. Because six months have elapsed since the murder, police will have to rely on forensics to corroborate these claims. The accused is learnt to be frequently changing his answers to the investigators’ questions and claiming to have forgotten many details.
On Tuesday, a police team recovered another body part. Whether the recovered piece was that of a human or an animal will be clear only after forensic examination, the cops said. According to police, Poonawala dumped the remnants of the body near the 100 Foota MB Road, at a drain close to a cremation ground, a forested area in Mehrauli and the Dhan Mill Compound in Chhatarpur.
It is believed that Poonawala had a fight with Walkar a week before the murder, during which he wanted to kill her but desisted when she started weeping loudly. A week later on May 18 they fought again and this time he allegedly strangled her. A police officer said, “He then claimed to have stayed up all night and searched the internet for ways to get rid of the corpse and to deal with the blood and smell. He said he feared getting caught if he dumped the body randomly.”
Police sources claimed that Poonawala brought several women home even when the fridge was filled with the victim’s body portions. The investigators will contact dating app Bumble for details of the accused’s interactions to establish who these women were. They will also probe whether a relationship with any of them triggered the murder. Poonawala has admitted to police that Walkar did not like him talking to other women on the phone.
Poonawala is locked up in police custody with three others. He ate three-four chapatis on Monday night and slept peacefully. The other inmates were wary of him, fearing he could get violent.