Delhi murder: Cops start draining pond near Chhattarpur in search for skull

Updated on Nov 21, 2022 06:30 AM IST

The police drained 100,000 litres of water on Sunday and did not find anything. Senior officers said it would take more than two months to empty out all of the 2.5-acre water body

Media personnel and local residents near the pond where Aftab Poonawala is suspected to have dumped Shraddha Walkar's head, at Chhatarpur in New Delhi on November 20. (PTI)
Media personnel and local residents near the pond where Aftab Poonawala is suspected to have dumped Shraddha Walkar's head, at Chhatarpur in New Delhi on November 20. (PTI)
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Aaftab Amin Poonawala — who is alleged to have murdered his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar this May and dismembered her remains and scattered them across Mehrauli, Chhattarpur and Gurugram — has told the police that he disposed of some of her body parts in a pond in Maidan Garhi, said officers aware of the matter, prompting investigators on Sunday to begin draining the south Delhi water body, even as the police said they recovered what appeared to be pieces of a skull from a forest in Chhattarpur.

The bones will be sent for forensic tests to ascertain if they are of human origin and belong to Walkar, said officers aware of the matter.

Also Read| Aaftab killed Shraddha in heat of moment, but planned disposal in detail: Police

On Sunday morning, Delhi Police teams and officers from the city’s municipal corporation and water utility made their way to the Mahadhudi pond in Maidan Garhi village, barely 500 metres from the rented Chhattarpur Pahadi flat where Poonawala and Walkar lived, and where she was allegedly killed.

“Poonawala mentioned this pond as one of the places where he disposed of her body parts,” said a police officer aware of the matter.

The teams began pumping water out from parts of the pond, with senior officers arguing that it would take more than two months to empty out all of the 2.5-acre water body, which serves as a key resource for residents of the surrounding village.

Residents said the move may hinder everyday life for a while, but assured that they will cooperate with the police.

Another Delhi Police team, including senior officers, on Sunday took Poonawala to his rented accommodation in Chhattarpur Pahadi’s lane number one and spent at least four hours in the house.
Another Delhi Police team, including senior officers, on Sunday took Poonawala to his rented accommodation in Chhattarpur Pahadi’s lane number one and spent at least four hours in the house.

Maidan Garhi resident welfare association chief Mahavir Pradhan said the pond is one of the primary water sources for village residents. “The teams drained about 100,000 litres of water on Sunday and left around 4pm,” he said.

The police did not recover anything from the pond as on Sunday, said an officer aware of the matter.

Meanwhile, investigators said they hope the bone fragments recovered on Sunday hold vital clues, which have so far been in short supply for police officers probing the morbid case that has stunned the Capital.

“A few bones have been recovered, and they appear to be part of a skull or neck. They have been preserved,” said the police officer quoted above.

However, the veracity of the latest findings hinges on a forensic analysis.

The samples will be sent to the forensics lab in northwest Delhi’s Rohini along with other bones that have so far been recovered as part of the police’s searches, apart from bloodstain samples recovered from Poonawala’s kitchen.

“Nothing can be said conclusively till a forensic examination is conducted,” said the officer.

Also Read| Shraddha Walkar: ‘That short rebel’ caught in a toxic loop

Another Delhi Police team, including senior officers, on Sunday took Poonawala to his rented accommodation in Chhattarpur Pahadi’s lane number one and spent at least four hours in the house.

While officers left the two-room flat with at least two polythene bags, they declined to reveal their contents.

“The investigation is in the early stages, and several seemingly important exhibits have been lifted,” said a senior police officer.

Another Delhi Police officer aware of the matter said that Poonawala may be subjected to a narco analysis test on Monday, after which the police’s five-day custody of the suspect will lapse. To be sure, the police are likely to seek an extension of his custody. A city court on November 17 ordered that the narco test be conducted within five days.

However, an officer from the Forensic Sciences Laboratory (FSL) contested the officer quoted above and said a Monday date for the test is unlikely.

“There are medical checks that have to be conducted before a narco analysis test. These have not yet been done. We’ll be able to get some clarity on Monday morning,” said the FSL official, asking not to be named.

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