Police likely to seek extension of Poonawala's custody as key evidence not found, wants polygraph test

NewsDrum Desk
21 Nov 2022

New Delhi, Nov 21 (PTI) Investigators have recovered a human jaw during searches for the body parts of Shradha Walkar while the Delhi Police on Monday approached a court here for conducting a polygraph test on her live-in partner Aaftab Poonewala who allegedly murdered and dismembered her in May.

Sources said that the police are likely to seek an extension of Poonawala's custody which ends on Tuesday as key evidence including the murder weapon are yet to be found. On Monday, searches continued in several parts of Delhi for the fourth day looking for chopped body parts of Walkar.

A narco test could not be conducted on Poonawala on Monday, an official of the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) said, adding that a polygraph test has to be done before the narco test.

The Delhi police on Monday moved an application in court here for conducting the polygraph test on Poonawala.

Sources said that the accused has consented to the polygraph test too.

The court had on Thursday directed the city police to complete the narco analysis test within five days while making it clear that it cannot use any third-degree measure on him.

A PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court on Monday seeking a direction to transfer the investigation into the case from Delhi Police to the CBI, alleging that presence of media and the public at places of recovery evidence amounts to tampering.

The police have so far recorded the statements of 11 people, including two who helped Walkar when she was allegedly assaulted by Poonawala in 2020.

Sources said on Monday that Delhi Police recovered a human jaw during searches for Walkar's remains and approached a dentist here in a bid to ascertain whether it is of the 27-year-old murder victim.

The dentist, who did not wish to be named, said he has sought more information to arrive at a conclusion.

"The police came today. They had a picture of the jaw which they recovered during the investigation. I asked them to get an X-ray from the Mumbai-based doctor who treated the woman, for a root canal treatment or so. Without an X-ray, it is very difficult to identify," he told PTI.

On Sunday, police had deployed teams to pump out water from a pond in Maidan Giri looking for the body parts of Walkar. But the exercise had to be stopped on Monday.

Sources said problems were faced in emptying the pond because of sewer water from surrounding areas flowing into it. Over one lakh litres of water was pumped out on Sunday but the level of the pond returned to the previous level due to sewer water flowing into it.

So no pumping was undertaken on Monday. It was also being considered to deploy swimmers to search for the victim's body, although it was a risky affair since the pond was also filled with a lot of muck, the sources added.

Meanwhile, the Delhi police moved an application in court here for conducting a polygraph test on Poonawala on the ground that he is providing incorrect information and misleading police, a court source said.

Metropolitan Magistrate Aviral Shukla referred the matter to Judge Vijayshree Rathore, who had earlier heard the application on Poonawala's narco analysis test.

Punit Puri, an assistant director at the FSL, said the polygraphic test will be conducted if consent is received. "It will be followed by medical tests and after these, the narco will be performed." "Within 10 days, narco will be done," he added.

A polygraph test is a non-invasive technique in which no medicine is used. In this test, the subject is attached to a machine and questions are asked to him/her about the matter related to any case or incident. The variation in the graph when the subject answer the questions are mapped to draw a conclusion.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), polygraph tests measure a person's "heart rate/blood pressure, respiration, and skin conductivity." The purpose of the test is usually to prove whether or not a person committed a crime.

Legal Aid Defence Counsel Abinash Kumar, who is representing Poonawala, said that he will definitely oppose extension of custody by more than two days.

After a Delhi Police team on Sunday recorded the statement of an employee of a packaging company in Maharashtra's Palghar district, it came to light that Poonawala had shifted belongings in 37 packages from his flat at White Hills Society in Evershine City of Vasai to his residence in Delhi's Chhatarpur area in June, an official said.

Poonawala had told Delhi Police that before moving to the national capital, he and Walkar fought about who would pay for shifting the items from their house, according to police sources.

A police official said they will find out whose account was used to pay Rs 20,000 for the transportation of furniture and other household items in June through the Goodluck Packers and Movers company.

An estate agent in Mumbai claimed that Amin Poonawala, father of the accused, did not share much information about him while taking a flat on rent in a building in Mira Road area last month.

Meanwhile, a purported bill from an electronics shop was doing rounds on social media. The bill was for a refrigerator priced at Rs 25,299. It was issued in the name of one Aaftab, while the mobile number mentioned in the bill was of Walkar.

Poonawala allegedly strangled Walkar, 27, on May 18 and sawed her body into nearly three dozen pieces which he kept in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in South Delhi's Mehrauli before dumping them across the city over several days past midnight. PTI AMP/NIT/MNR/DC/SHW/ZA/SKV/VIT/SLB BUN BUN RT RT

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