Circumstantial evidence, key to forensic examination in Mehrauli murder probe: Experts | Rare Techy
New Delhi: A week after the arrest of Aftab Amin Poonawala, police have been searching for evidence to charge him in court for Shraddha Walker’s murder, but it remains a challenge as the crime was discovered nearly six months later.
Experts here opine that circumstantial evidence and forensic examination are important in such cases.
Poonawala strangled her live-in partner, Walker, 27, before cutting her body into 35 pieces and storing it in a 300-litre fridge for three weeks at his home in Mehrauli.
Former Delhi Police Commissioner SN Srivastava said it was a six-month-old murder, the crime scene had been cleared and the police were basically depending on the confession of the accused, who seemed to be a “smart” person.
“This will be a very difficult case and will require the assistance of all organs of the criminal justice system to convict him. The police will get what they can, but the court should also understand the situation and act accordingly,” he told PTI.
Police have so far recovered 13 body parts, most of them skeletal remains, but the weapon used to cut her body is yet to be found even as searches continue in the forest areas of Mehrauli, other parts of Delhi and Gurugram.
Srivastava said Poonawala had done a lot of research on how to kill, bury the body, destroy evidence and how to fool the police.
On November 17, the Delhi court allowed the police to conduct nacro analysis tests in Poonawalla. As Poonawala’s five-day police custody ends the next day, Dr. Rohini said on Monday. The examination will be conducted at Baba Sahib Ambedkar Hospital.
Although this may not be admissible in court, officials are of the opinion that some crucial evidence may be examined to establish the case in court.
Another retired Delhi police chief, who requested anonymity, said, “Based on the narco-analysis test, if the police find anything, it is relevant. A confession is not admissible, but it is an aid to the investigator.
Stressing that circumstantial evidence will play a crucial role in establishing the guilt of the accused, a Delhi Police official said that since the accused and Shraddha were in live contact, the case would be strengthened with forensic evidence and DNA samples of those recovered. body parts
“Even if the DNA of one of those pieces matched that of her relatives, that would be enough to prove his guilt. Police search and take away so those things will be used in court. The fact that he gave different versions to different people about Shraddha will also go against him,” the officer said.
Srivastava said the case will be a test for the forensic department as a lot depends on it.
“The best help of forensic science has to be sought in this case and if the accused gets off scot free, it will be a failure of the criminal justice system of which police, courts and forensics are all part,” he said.
Another retired officer, who was involved in the infamous Tandoor murder case investigation, said the police were finding it difficult to prove the crime.
“The police are only going by his version. Although he has meticulously cleaned the crime scene, there is a possibility that dried blood will be found on the rubber lining of the fridge, which could be the nail in his case. Although the narco-analysis test is not admissible in court, these findings will help the police to gather evidence,” he agreed with other officials.
Recalling the Tandoor case, the retired officer said the accused killed Naina Sahni out of anger. The murderer cleaned the crime scene, wrapped the body in a bedsheet and tried to throw it in the Yamuna but failed, then tried to burn the body in a tandoor, he said.
But the case appears to be a well-planned murder, he added.
“The way he bought the fridge and the mutilation weapon shows the level of meticulous planning he went through. As the crime took place around six months back, CCTV footage of his movements is difficult to find as such footage is usually kept for a month,” said the retired officer.
On the challenges of filing a charge sheet in the case, Srivastava said the investigation is about finding the truth. Prima facie evidence in the form of eyewitness accounts, details of the murder weapon, clothing and injuries caused by the murder weapon are a part of the evidence.
He said there was other circumstantial evidence of where Walker lived, when she was last seen and in whose company.
In 2020, the police also recorded the statements of two people whom Walker approached for help following the attack by the accused. The police will send the clothes and sharp object recovered from accused Poonawala’s Mehrauli residence for forensic examination.
However, the investigators are yet to find the clothes the two were wearing on May 18 when the crime took place. They recovered CCTV footage of a man suspected to be Poonawala walking with a bag in the early hours of last month.
On Friday, the Delhi Police had sent a team to Maharashtra, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to collect evidence in the case.
According to officials, after leaving Mumbai, Walker and Poonawala traveled to several places, including Himachal Pradesh, and the police are visiting these places to check if any developments during those trips prompted Poonawala to kill his partner.