Shraddha Murder Case: Police Recover Skull Remains, Start Draining Pond As Search Intensifies

Shraddha Murder Case: Police Recover Skull Remains, Start Draining Pond As Search Intensifies

The Delhi Police recovered parts of the skull and some bones from a forest area on Sunday and deployed teams to drain a pond in Maidangarhi, South Delhi, as it intensified its search for Shraddha Walkar’s remains, which were allegedly dumped by her live-in partner after murdering her six months ago, news agency PTI reported citing official sources. 

According to sources, police collected skull fragments and other body parts, largely bones, on the third day of intense searches in the Mehrauli and Gurgaon forest areas of the Delhi-NCR region. These will be forwarded for forensic examination.

Police went to the flat where suspects Aaftab Poonawala and Walkar lived to obtain more evidence. In addition, officials from the Delhi Police and Rohini’s Forensic Science Laboratory met as they prepared to conduct a narco-analysis test in the hopes of obtaining important information from the accused.

“We have taken up the matter. Our teams of forensic experts had an elaborative discussion with the officials of Delhi Police regarding the narco analysis test to be conducted and are preparing for the same,” a senior official from Rohini’s Forensic Science Laboratory was quoted as saying by PTI. 

Since Sunday afternoon, Delhi Police and MCD officials have been draining water from a pond not far from Mehrauli. Following Poonwala’s accusation that he had thrown her head and other remnants into the water body, the exercise began.

“We have heard that some body parts are dumped here and the search for them is underway. They are taking out the water from the pond. This pond supplies water to the tubewells in the area,” said Mahavir Pradhan, president of the RWA of the village, PTI reported.

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He stated that they are willing to assist the authorities, but that there may be another way to find the body pieces other than emptying the pond.

On Thursday, a Delhi court ordered the city police to complete the narco-analysis test within five days, while emphasising that no third-degree measures could be used against him.

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A Delhi Police team called three people known to Walkar in Palghar district in Maharashtra to record their testimony. The Delhi Police team is in Manikpur in Palghar’s Vasai, which is the victim’s hometown and where the couple lived before moving to the national capital.

On Saturday, it recorded the statements of four people in Palghar: two men from whom Walkar sought help after she was raped by Poonawala in 2020, a former manager of the Mumbai contact centre where Walkar worked, and a female acquaintance.

Poonawala allegedly murdered Walkar, 27, on May 18 and sawed her body into over three dozen pieces, which he kept in a 300-litre fridge at his home in Mehrauli, South Delhi, for about three weeks before disposing of them across the city over many days after midnight.

According to sources close to the investigation, Poonawala alleged that after killing Walkar, he burned three photographs of her in the kitchen. During questioning, the accused stated that he developed a hatred for Walkar and looked through the couple’s possessions after murdering her, PTI reported. 

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In his bedroom, he had three large photographs of Walkar, including two solo photographs from their Uttarakhand tour and a 2020 picture of the couple near Mumbai’s Gateway of India.

During questioning, he stated that he intended to delete all evidence relating to Walkar in the residence. Police retrieved a bag containing Walkar’s things, including her shoes and clothing, from her home.

As the police search for evidence to bring Poonawala to justice and ensure his conviction, experts here say circumstantial evidence and forensic investigation are crucial in such instances.

Noting that the murder occurred six months ago, former Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava stated that the scene of the crime has been cleaned up and that police are relying on the confession of the accused, who appears to be a “clever” person.

“It is going to be a very difficult case and will require the help of all organs of the criminal justice system to nail him down. Police will get what it can, but the court will also have to understand the situation and act accordingly,” PTI quoted him as saying. 

The Delhi Police dispatched teams to Maharashtra, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh on Friday to look for evidence in the case.

(With Inputs From PTI)