‘Aaftab Poonawala would beat her up’, Shraddha Walkar’s brother to Delhi court


Sharaddha Walkar’s brother Shreejay Walkar testified against 28-year-old Aaftab Poonawala in Delhi’s Saket court as trial began and statement of prosecution witnesses in the case were recorded on Thursday. Shreejay told the court that two weeks after she left her home, Shraddha told him that she and Aaftab were fighting a lot — verbal and physical. She had told him that Aaftab would beat her up occasionally.

Aaftab Poonawala, 28, allegedly sawed Shraddha Walkar’s body into 35 pieces and kept them in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in south Delhi’s Mehrauli before dumping them across the city over several days. (File)

Shreejay told their mother about the same. He said, “We again tried to reason with her and that she should not be in this relationship and she should come back home. She said Aaftab would apologise after every fight and she would accept the apology and continue living with him.”

He also told the court that Shraddha often visited her home when their mother was unwell. However, their mother passed in January last year.

He added, “Shraddha stayed back for a bit with Aaftab. Heated arguments continued. We were not happy that she was in such a relationship. My interaction with my sister reduced substantially as we understood that she is completely influenced by Aaftab.”

Shreejay also said that he lost complete contact with his sister after mid-2021. “I did not see my sister after Feb 2020. She was in touch with her classmates Shivani Mhatre and lakshmanan Nadar. Mid-2021 lost contact with her. If i called either it was switched off or unreachable.”

Statements of two more witnesses, including an auto driver and Shraddha and Aaftab’s Chhatarpur neighbour were also recorded on Thursday. The matter will be next heard in July.

What happened?

Poonwala allegedly strangulated his live-in partner Shraddha in November last year. He sawed her body into 35 pieces and kept them in a 300-litre refrigerator before dumping them across various locations in the city over several days.

In January, the Delhi Police had filed a 6,629-page chargesheet in the case. The chargesheet was filed 75 days after the police had started investigations.

Shraddha and Aaftab

Poonwala and Shraddha, hailing from Mumbai, were in a relationship and had moved to Delhi in May 2022. The murder came to light when a friend informed Shraddha’s father that he had not heard from her for nearly two months. After being unable to contact his daughter, Shraddha’s father informed Mumbai Police last October. The Mumbai police’s probe led police to the couple’s rented room in South Delhi’s Chhattarpur Pahadi.

The crime

The breakthrough came when 13 decomposed body parts, mostly pieces of bones, retrieved on Poonawala’s insistence led to a DNA match that confirmed Shraddha was murdered. Poonawala was arrested in November last year and is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail.

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