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Tracing the victim’s weapon, mobile and clothes: The challenges facing Delhi Police in Shraddha’s murder case

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Delhi police are yet to trace the alleged murder weapon, the victim’s mobile phone, her clothing and the remaining body parts in the Shraddha Walkar murder case.

Aaftab Ameen Poonawala strangled his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar and chopped her body into 35 pieces (Photo: Shraddha Walkar/File)

By Sreya Chatterjee: As gruesome details keep emerging in Shraddha Walkar’s murder case, Delhi Police have a difficult investigation ahead of them. A 26-year-old woman, Shraddha Walkar, was allegedly murdered and chopped into 35 pieces by her live-in partner, Aaftab Ameen Poonawala. As Delhi police solve a blind murder case after six months, the agency struggles to gather evidence to support accused Aftab Poonawala’s confession to the murder of his girlfriend.

According to the Delhi police, Aaftab confessed to killing Shraddha Walkar during interrogation. Aftab related that he killed Shraddha on May 18, bought a refrigerator the next day, chopped her body parts into 35 pieces, kept them in the refrigerator, and disposed of them one by one over the course of the next 15-20 days . According to Aftab’s confession during the police interrogation, he threw away the body parts at 2 am every night. To avoid suspicion, he allegedly posed as Shraddha and remained active on her Instagram account until June 9 to talk to her friends.

Despite all the decisive information, it has become difficult for the Delhi Police to collect the evidence as six months have passed. Aaftab’s detention is set to expire today as Delhi police hopes for an extension of detention. Here is a list of important questions that are still unanswered:

Weapon used in crime: Shraddha Walkar is said to have been killed by strangulation; however, her body parts were chopped into 35 pieces. According to police sources, the body parts were cut with a saw, a weapon that has yet to be recovered. A weapon used in crime remains extremely crucial to prove a murder, in this case the fact that 6 months have passed makes it even worse. Even if the weapon is recovered, Delhi police are unlikely to find any fingerprints or bloodstains needed to prove it was the murder weapon.

READ ALSO | Delhi Murder Trial: How to Ensure Justice for Shraddha?

Shraddha’s clothes during murder: Delhi police are yet to discover Shraddha’s clothes she was wearing when she was killed. According to police sources, Aaftab had thrown the clothes into a garbage truck, making it nearly impossible for police to track them down given the gap between May, when the murder was committed, and November, when it is under investigation.

Shraddha’s Cell Phone: Police have yet to recover Shraddha’s cell phone, an important piece of electronic evidence needed to substantiate timelines. Depending on login history, activities after her murder, and last known locations, locating Shraddha’s cell phone is important to pin Aftab to the alleged murder.

Scientific evidence that the body parts were kept in a refrigerator: While police interrogation suggests that Aaftab had kept Shraddha’s body parts in the refrigerator, but there is still no clarity on whether there is any scientific evidence to substantiate the same. It is alleged that Aaftab cleaned the refrigerator with hydrochloric acid to weaken DNA strands that could have been left in the refrigerator after he disposed of Shraddha’s body parts. In such a scenario, apart from Aaftab’s confession in court, nothing would be deemed admissible.

No witness heard Shraddha and Aaftab fight for the alleged murder: According to the police investigation, both she and Aaftab were involved in a fight before Shraddha’s murder. It’s still unclear why neighbors would turn a deaf ear to a brawl that led to a murder. In this case, a witness would only have helped the police, making the case watertight.

READ ALSO | When Aaftab tried to kill Shraddha days before the murder…

Missing body parts: So far, Delhi police sources say only 10-13 dismembered bones, believed to be Shraddha’s body parts, have been recovered. There are several pieces yet to be found. In the case of a blind murder, bones become extremely crucial for investigative agencies to unravel the story of a murder. A person’s bone can tell when a person died and what the cause of death was. Forensic anthropologists study bones to aid in crime cases. However, it is still not clear whether the recovered body parts are indeed human bones and whether they belonged to Shraddha or not.

In addition, it is also important to find the other missing body parts. In Shraddha’s case, it is important to restore any bones, especially of the chest or trachea, that may have suffered skeletal trauma during the alleged murder. Moreover, if Aaftab did indeed chop Shraddha’s body parts, the same could be detected through the bones as well.

Evidence for the time of the murder: With FSL reports still awaiting the dismembered body parts, it has yet to be proven when and what time Shraddha was killed. If the Delhi police found Shraddha’s remains from the body parts found in Mehrauli forest, it would be crucial to confirm the time of her death.

READ ALSO | Shraddha murder case: Legal experts say quality of evidence will decide whether it falls under rarest category

READ ALSO | Incense Sticks, Chemicals: How Aaftab Tried to Cover Up Shraddha’s Murder

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