Monday, December 4, 2023

2 years ago Shraddha wrote: “He’ll kill me, cut me into pieces”

Shraddha Walkar, who was allegedly strangled by her boyfriend Aaftab Poonawala, her body chopped up into pieces, and dumped in a jungle in Delhi, had feared exactly that two years ago in a complaint to the police at Tilunj in their hometown Vasai in Maharashtra, investigators today said. 

She had written the complaint to the cops after he beat her up at a flat they shared, and said that his family knew about his violent behaviour, sources in the Delhi police said. The local police said Shraddha later gave another written statement that “we no longer have any quarrel” after his parents spoke to them, and asked for no action to be taken. Aaftab’s parents are in Delhi to record statements, as is one of her co-workers, Karan, whom she’d told about the assault.

The complaint of November 23, 2020, ties into what she told Karan over WhatsApp around the same time, when she had also shared a photo of her bruised face with him. She had also been admitted to a hospital a week later with “internal injuries”.

“Today he tried to kill me by suffocating me and he scares me and blackmails me that he will kill me, cut me up in pieces and throw me away. It’s been six 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,” says the letter.

But the couple, who’d met over a dating app and got into a relationship around 2019, apparently did not break up, even though the 2020 complaint says he’d been assaulting and “blackmailing” her “for six months” with threats of murder. Both call centre employees, they had moved to Delhi in May this year.

Shraddha’s parents were not in touch with her as they didn’t approve of the inter-faith (Hindu-Muslim) relationship. The gruesome murder, committed days after they moved to a flat in Delhi’s Mehrauli in May, came to light only over the past month after her father went to the cops as he her friends told him she hadn’t contacted them, too, in months.

The letter reads, “His parents are aware that he beats me and that he tried to kill me. They also know about us living together and they visit on weekends.” It says she lived with him “as we were supposed to get married anytime soon and had the blessings of his family”.

But it concludes with: “Henceforth I’m 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.”

It was not clear how long, if at all, they lived apart, but they went together for a holiday to Himachal Pradesh early this year before moving to Delhi.

As evidence for murder, police so far have an alleged confession, which is not admissible on its own. Police are looking for material clues, particularly a forensic test to confirm that some body parts found in the Mehrauli jungle are indeed hers.

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