Delhi 'Dexter' case: How love that blossomed on a dating app ended in murder
New Delhi, Nov 15: The spine-chilling murder of 26-year-old Shraddha Walkar by her live-in partner Aftab Amin Poonawala has shocked the entire nation with its gory coldblooded details. The accused had chopped her body into some 35 pieces, stuffed them into a fridge and then scattered them across the national capital over 18 days to avoid anyone's suspicion or detection.
Let us take a look at how the duo met and what led to this end?
The 28-year-old food blogger Aftab Poonawala and Shraddha Walkar were residents of Vasai city in Maharashtra and had met on a dating app Bumble in 2018. They met and fell in love and like they say, the rest is history. In this case, however, it was going to be more than a 'routine' history.
Shraddha, who worked for an IT-based call centre in Malad, sought her family's permission to get married to Poonawala. Since the two belonged to different faiths, her parents were totally opposed to the alliance of Aftab with their daughter Shraddha. A defiant Shraddha walked out of her home and chose to live with Poonawala Naigaon in 2019.
According to an Indian Express report, the red flags in the relationship were evident quite early on in their relationship. According to the report, the relationship was a very turbulent one, and at many instances, Aftab had assaulted her.
"They were in a live-in relationship since 2019 but it was a very turbulent one, and he assaulted her many times. Finally they decided to give it a last shot and went to Himachal Pradesh this year for a trip. Even there, they were having fights and Shraddha had told us she had decided to break up and their relationship was nearing an end. After the Himachal Pradesh trip, they decided to spend some time in Delhi and I think she was waiting for May 16, which was their anniversary," a friend was quoted as telling the Indian Express.
The duo then went to Himachal Pradesh and then arrived in Delhi earlier this year. They stayed at a hotel in Paharganj for a day and later moved to an apartment in Delhi's Mehrauli by April-end or May first week. Aftab was working as a chef in a hotel in Delhi.
The Red flags in the relationship
According to reports, over a period of time, their relationship had turned sour and they suspected each other of having affairs with other people.
On May 18, Aftab was allegedly irritated with the fact that Shraddha was insisting on getting married with him. They fought over this and he strangulated her, Ankit Chauhan, Additional DCP-I, South district said.
Since the body has started decomposing, Aftab purchased a saw from a local shop in Chhattarpur area and a 300-litre refrigerator, taking inspiration from American crime drama 'Dexter'. He even ordered bleach online to wash the body parts as they had started emanating a stench.
''The accused then cut her body into over 35 pieces. He bought a 300-litre fridge to preserve the body parts and stocked up on incense sticks and room fresheners. He disposed of the pieces in different parts of the city over several days. He used to step out past midnight to dump the severed body parts,'' he added.
Chauhan said the woman was not on talking terms with her family due to their differences over her relationship with Poonawala.
The police also revealed chilling details about the accused's search history, where he looked for the method of cleaning blood and read about human anatomy.
News agency ANI, citing sources, reported that Aftab used to sleep every day in the same room where he had chopped the body after killing Shraddha. He used to see the face of her now-dead girlfriend in the refrigerator. After disposing of all the body parts, Aftab had cleaned the fridge of all the blood and stain marks.
It is also reported that Aftab had started dating another woman days after the murder and brought her home, while Shraddha's body parts still remained in the apartment.
The Delhi Police is also likely to write to Bumble, a dating app, to get details of Aftab's profile to find out details of women who visited him at his house at his house when the body was still in refrigerator. The Police are also looking at the possibility of any of these women being a reason behind this killing.
Nadar, a close friend of Walkar, worked with her at the call centre in Malad in 2019, and the two were in touch till May this year. Following his information, Shraddha's father, Vikas Madan Walkar, approached the Manikpur police station on September 17. In the First Information report, the victim's father said that his daughter had told his wife in 2019 that she wanted to stay in a live-in relationship with Aftab.
"I and my wife had said no to it. This is because we are Hindus belonging to the Koli caste and the boy is a Muslim," the complaint also read. "In our place, we do not engage in inter-caste, inter-faith relationships," the complaint by the father further added. Her family grew worried when she stopped responding. Shraddha's father then travelled to Delhi and filed a complaint, following which the case was cracked. The victim's father also alleged that Poonawala used to beat Walkar on several occasions and that she had informed her family about it earlier.
''The woman's father called the accused up but was told that the couple had parted ways sometime back. Unable to contact his daughter, the man then filed a missing complaint,'' Chauhan said.
After receiving the complaint, the Mumbai Police traced her last location to Delhi and also called Poonawala whose contradictory statements raised suspicion, prompting them to rope in Delhi Police.
''Mumbai Police took out Call Detail Record (CDR) of Poonawala and Walkar and found her mobile was switched off since May. Then we called up Poonawala and inquired with him as well as his statement was recorded, as reported by PTI.
''He earlier said they were residing in Chattarpur locality in Delhi but in May she left his place after some fight between them. When police found some contradiction in his statement, they informed the Delhi Police and transferred all her details to them,'' a senior Mumbai police official said.
On November 8, Mumbai Police reported at Mehrauli police station regarding the missing woman. During the investigation, a raid was conducted at Poonawala's residence and he was detained.
''Initially, he said that they both had some arguments and she left him. Later during sustained interrogation, Poonawala disclosed that he and the deceased were in a live-in relationship since 2019. They had frequent fights.
''On May 18, the accused and the victim had some arguments. She was shouting due to which he covered her mouth with his hand. Later, he strangulated her, cut the body into parts and disposed of them in a nearby jungle area,'' a senior Delhi Police official said.
Poonawala has been remanded in a five-day police custody.