Rajat Sharma

Murder was pre-meditated: Shraddha’s letter nails Aaftab’s lie

AKBEven as facts and circumstantial evidence point towards a pre-meditated murder of Shraddha Walkar, the alleged killer Aaftab Amin Poonawala, on Thursday, appeared to be calm and relaxed while undergoing lie-detector (polygraphy) test conducted by Forensic Science Laboratory experts in Rohini, Delhi.

Senior Delhi Police officials told India TV reporter, it does not appear as if Poonawala is undergoing intense interrogation. He appeared ‘cool and normal’ during the polygraphy test, one official said. The test could not be conducted on Wednesday as the 28-year-old alleged killer was down with fever and cold.

During Thursday’s polygraph test, his blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration parameters were noted to determine whether he was speaking the truth. The narco-analysis test is likely to take place on Monday in Ambedkar Hospital. During narco-analysis test, the person is administered medication which reduces his self-consciousness and allows him to speak freely.

Meanwhile, glaring lapses on part of Maharashtra Police have come to light. A handwritten complaint written by Shraddha Walkar two years ago to Tulinj police station, dated November 23, 2020, has emerged in which she had clearly expressed fear that Aaftab wanted to kill him and cut her into pieces. This complaint was not taken seriously at that time by police, who after a meeting with both, asked Shraddha to withdraw her complaint.

The letter reads: “I Miss Shraddha Vikas Walkar, age 25, would like to report Aaftab Amin Poonawala, age 26, Phone xxxxx xxxx, who currently lives at B-302, Regal Apartments, Vijay Vihar Complex, near ARC Bhavan, has been abusing me and been beating me up. Today he tried to kill me by suffocating me and he scares and blackmails me that he will kill me and cut me up in pieces and throw me away. It’s been 6 months he has been hitting me but I did not have the guts to go to the police because he would threaten to kill me.”

“His parents are aware that he beats me and that he tried to kill me. They also know about we living together in east and they visit on weekends. I lived with him till date as we were supposed to get married anytime soon and had the blessings of his family. Henceforth I am not willing to live with him so any kind of physical damage should be considered coming from him as he has been blackmailing me to kill me or hurt me whenever he sees me anywhere.”

Shraddha’s letter surfaced a day after Aaftab had told a Delhi Saket court judge that “whatever that happened was in the heat of the moment”, but this letter nails his lie. The letter was released by Shraddha’s neighbour in Vasai, with whom she had gone to Tulinj police station near Palghar to file her complaint two years ago. Maharashtra police had not disclosed this letter until it became public on Tuesday.

Suhas Bawche, DCP of Vasai said Shraddha later withdrew her complaint in writing. In her complaint withdrawal letter, Shraddha wrote that Aaftab’s parents had come and brought about a patch-up between her and Aaftab.

Tulinj police station officials handed over Shraddha’s complaint and her withdrawal letter to a Delhi police team on Wednesday. Tulinj police officials said, the complaint was received on November 23, 2020, and an investigating officer went to their flat to speak to both Shraddha and Aaftab, after which she withdrew her complaint in writing.

The letter clearly outlines the murderous intentions of the killer, despite the fact that the complaint was withdrawn under police pressure. Shraddha’s life could have been saved had Palghar police taken timely action against Aaftab. When Shraddha wrote this complaint, Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government was in power in Maharashtra. Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra deputy CM has promised to investigate the entire matter as to why Palghar police took this complaint lightly.

After this letter came to light, BJP leaders in Maharashtra attacked Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. BJP leader Ram Kadam alleged that when Shraddha filed her complaint, “Thackeray’s Mumai police was busy collecting bribes from bar owners”. On Wednesday, Shraddha’s father Vikas Walkar told India TV, “had Palghar police taken timely action, my daughter’s life could have been saved”.

Delhi Police officials point to two glaring lapses on part of Maharashtra police. One, Palghar police did not take Shraddha’s complaint about threat to her life seriously and forced her to withdraw her complaint. Two, Shraddha’s father had filed a missing person complaint in September with Mumbai Police about his daughter. Mumbai police had summoned Aaftab and had questioned him. He was questioned lightly and was allowed to go.

Despite knowing that Aaftab was staying in Delhi, Mumbai police did not get in touch with Delhi Police. It was only two months later that Mumbai police contacted Delhi Police on November 9 about Shraddha’s missing case. The two months’ gap has made the work of Delhi Police difficult in recovering the weapons and implements used for cutting Shraddha’s body into pieces and tracing the missing body parts.

Shraddha’s complaint to Maharashtra police raises serious questions about how our police system deals with cases of domestic violence. Shraddha had clearly written in her complaint that Aaftab was threatening to kill him and cut her into pieces.

What was the compulsion that made Shraddha stay as a live-in partner with Aaftab even after the beatings and threats? Why didn’t police take serious cognizance of her complaint? These are issues that need to be probed thoroughly.

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