Police are investigating why Aftab Poonawala, who allegedly killed his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar and cut her body into pieces in Delhi’s Mehrauli, ended up getting a water bill even when 20,000 litres are free every month. A constantly running tap to mask any chopping sounds, hot water to wash blood off the body, and chemical mixed with water to remove stains from the flat — these are theories that cops are considering around the Rs 300 pending bill, sources said.
Most houses in the colony get a ‘zero’ bill as 20,000 litres — roughly 35 buckets a day — are more than enough for a family. The couple had moved into the rented flat on May 14, but Aftab Poonawala was living alone since May 18, the day he allegedly killed Shraddha Walkar, the probe says.
“Such a high water bill is quite surprising,” said flat owner Rohan Kumar’s father, Rajendra Kumar, who said the rent was Rs 9,000 a month. Sources said the rent agreement has names of both: Shraddha’s first, then Aftab’s. “He used the transfer the rent online between the 8th and 10th of every month,” Rajendra Kumar said, “That’s why I never needed to go to the flat.”
Both of them call centre employees, they lived together in Maharashtra’s Vasai, their hometown near Mumbai, before moving to Delhi.
Aftab Poonawala was arrested earlier his month after her parents — who hadn’t spoken to her since last year as they were upset over her inter-faith (Hindu-Muslim) relationship — went to the cops. Shraddha’s friends had told him they hadn’t heard from her in over two months, at which he filed a ‘missing’ report and later a kidnap case. Cops from Maharashtra and Delhi then collaborated to crack the case.
Investigators said that after strangling her over an argument about household expenses and infidelity, he used a knife to chop up the body, kept these in a new fridge he bought, and dumped these over 18 days in a jungle nearby.
Police have sought permission for a lie-detector test on Aftab to strengthen the evidence before the trial. A report of DNA tests to establish whether some body parts found in the forest are Shraddha’s will take 15 days, said the police.
In pieces of the puzzle so far, police say they have Aftab’s confession, which he can technically retract in court; evidence that he bought a knife and fridge on May 19, a day after the murder; bones found in the jungle; blood found in the kitchen; bank details of Rs 54,000 that Aftab got from Shraddha’s account; call records and location data from phones; Shraddha’s bag from the flat; and her father and friends’ statements.
But the knife or saw used to cut up the body has not yet been found. Most parts of her body are missing so far. Clothes worn by Aftab and Shraddha on the day of the murder have not been found either. Shraddha’s mobile phone remains untraced.
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