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"Always kept their doors locked, saw Shraddha only once" says Aftab's neighbour
New Delhi: One of the neighbours of Aftab Poonawalla, an accused in the Shraddha Walker murder case, on Thursday said that he had seen Shraddha only once since they shifted to their new location, while also adding that the accused always kept his doors locked.
Speaking to ANI, Rajesh, the neighbour said, "I had seen the woman climbing the stairs, the first time they had shifted here. She had a bag in her hand. After that, I did not see the woman, but I have seen the man a number of times. They used to order food online, the delivery man used to stand outside my residence." "Once Aftab had come downstairs to collect his food, only then I came to know about his name. The owner had told me to help them out with the water motor. He had come alone to understand how to use the motor. Nobody in the neighbourhood knew who they were. Most of the time, his door used to be locked," he added.
Earlier today, making a huge revelation in the Shraddha Walker murder case, Delhi Police sources said that the accused Aftab Poonawalla had charred his live-in partner's face to hide her identity.
The Delhi Police sources said that he had first chopped her body into 35 pieces, then burnt her face in such a way that it becomes unidentifiable even if the body parts are discovered.
"During the interrogation, Aftab revealed that he had learnt about all this on the internet, and also about how to hide the body from everyone's reach," the sources said.
In yet another loop in the Shraddha Walker murder case, the Southern District Police of Delhi have contacted their Eastern counterparts in a bid to match the DNA sample of chopped body parts including a human head which the latter had recovered earlier in June.
According to the sources, the East Delhi Police had found a chopped head and hand in the Trilokpuri area of Pandav Nagar police station area of the national capital in June this year, which was nearly a month after Shraddha was murdered (on May 18).
In the East Delhi case, the police were not able to ascertain whose body parts they were because of the tampered state of the recovered body parts.
The body parts found in East Delhi were sent for a DNA test, and the forensic report will be coming soon.
The bones found in Mehrauli forests have also been sent for a DNA test. The police will match the DNA report of all the pieces found at both these places and will try to ascertain if the found body parts were of Shraddha, the sources said.
The Southern District Police has contacted the Eastern District Police in this regard. The East District Police has handed over all the information to the South District Police.
According to the sources, Aftab, during his interrogation, told the police that after killing Shraddha and chopping her body into 35 pieces, he had first disposed of those parts which could stink quickly.
"Accused Aftab told the police that he used bleach to destroy the evidence, and also used chemicals so that not a single stain of blood remained on the floor," the sources said.
"He threw all the parts of the body in the forest and left thumb at some other location," the sources added.
According to police sources, there was no remorse visible on his face during his interrogation.
"When the police officer talks to the accused in Hindi, he replies in English. He sleeps peacefully in the police station lockup all night. After the murder, the friends of the accused Aftab also came to the house..but during that time he had hidden the parts somewhere else," the source said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has come across a fresh lead in the investigation of the Shraddha Walker murder case, in which they have found a pending water bill in accused Aftab Poonawalla's flat, given the circumstances that 20,000 litres of water in Delhi is provided free by the government, according to the sources.
According to the sources, the police received information from the neighbours of Aftab that he has an outstanding water bill of Rs 300.
The police are likely to investigate this angle as the Delhi government gives 20,000 litres of water for free. Two neighbours living on the floor above Aftab had informed the police that the water bill of all the floors comes to zero, except for Aftab's, who had an outstanding due of Rs 300, thus rising suspicion.
"After the murder, Aftab used a lot of water to clean the blood stains leading to a high water bill and the pending bill. Neighbours told the Police that Aftab used to regularly go and check the building's water tank," the sources said.
The police have also got the information that in the rent agreement which was made, Aftab had put Shraddha's name first and his own name at the last.
"The flat owner knew that they are not a married couple. They were given the flat through a broker. Aftab used to deposit Rs 9,000 into the account of the owner between 8 and 10 of every month," the sources said.
The water bill is also likely to play an important role in the investigation. Today, if the court grants further custody to the police, they are likely to investigate this angle as well, according to the sources.
Earlier, Aftab had told police that before the murder there was a fight between the couple over the shifting of household items from Mumbai.
Police investigation revealed that the couple had a fight on May 18 during which Aftab killed Shraddha.
Delhi Police sources said the May 18 quarrel was not the first time, Aftab and Shraddha were fighting for three years.
"On May 18, there was a fight between the two regarding bringing household items from Mumbai. They used to fight over who would bear the household expenses and bring items. Aftab got very angry about this. The quarrel started around 8 pm on May 18 when Aftab strangled Shraddha to death. He kept her body in the room overnight and went to buy a knife and refrigerator the next day," sources told ANI.
Aftab was arrested on Saturday after Delhi police started probing into a missing complaint filed by Shraddha's father Vikas Walker.
Aftab had attempted to dupe the police of Delhi and Mumbai in the initial days of the investigation.
Aftab had tried to hide the murder of Shraddha by removing any physical evidence, however, he had left the digital evidence that the police traced to reach the truth of the case.
When Delhi Police initiated the investigation, Aftab had told the police that Shraddha had left the house on May 22 (Shraddha was killed on May 18), after a fight. He said that she had only carried her phone with herself and had left her belongings in his flat. He claimed that she was unreachable and he had not come in contact with her since then, according to the police sources.
However, the truth came to the fore when the police checked the phone call records of the couple and investigated their locations.
The biggest breakthrough the police got was the bank statement of the couple's account which showed a transaction of Rs 54,000 from Shraddha's net banking account app to Aftab's account on May 26. The transaction exposed Aftab's lies in which he had earlier said that Shraddha was unreachable after May 22 and he did not come in contact with her, the sources said.
The location of the bank transfer that took place on May 26 also turned out to be the Mehrauli police station area.
Besides this, on May 31 there was a chat with her friend from Shraddha's Instagram account. When the police found out the location of Shraddha's phone, it turned out to be in Delhi's Mehrauli police station area.
Aftab could not answer the police question that if Shraddha had carried her phone along with herself, why was its location being traced to his house? It was at this moment that Aftab revealed the truth.
The Maharashtra Police sources said that when Shraddha's family could not contact her due to her phone being switched off, they filed the missing complaint at the Manikpur police station. Following the complaint, Aftab was summoned to the Manikpur police station for questioning.
Meanwhile, Shraddha's father on Tuesday demanded the death penalty for the accused while also suspecting 'love jihad' behind the incident.
Speaking to ANI, Shraddha's father, Vikas Walker said, "I suspect love jihad. We demand that Aftab be sentenced to death. I have faith in the Delhi Police as the investigation is moving in the right direction. Shraddha was close to her uncle and didn't talk to me much. I was never in touch with Aftab. I lodged the first complaint in the case at Vasai (Mumbai)."
"I had spoken to Shraddha last in 2021. I would ask her to tell me more about her live-in partner. But she didn't say much. I did not know she had shifted to Delhi. Her friend told me she was in Delhi. I thought that she was in Bengaluru. Aftab had a lot of time to remove all the evidence," Shraddha's father said. (ANI)