The Delhi Police on Tuesday took the 28-year-old accused of killing his live-in partner to the jungle areas of south Delhi's Chhatarpur where he had allegedly dumped her body parts.
A senior police official said the accused Aaftab Amin Poonawala will be taken to some other places in the city besides the Chhatarpur jungle area as part of their probe into the murder.
As Poonawala, his face covered with a white cloth, was taken to the wooded area, surrounded by police personnel, camera crews and journalists jostled with each other.
The ire over the gruesome killing seemed to spill over with a woman at the spot asking Poonawala if he was ashamed of his actions.
Poonawala had told the police during investigation that he killed his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar after a quarrel over marriage and the idea of chopping her body into 35 pieces was inspired by "Dexter", an American crime TV series.
He bought a fridge to preserve the body parts and used to step out past midnight to dispose them of. The accused meticulously planned which ones to dispose of first depending upon which part starts decomposing at the earliest, the police said.
According to police officials, 13 body parts were found after the accused pinpointed the areas where he had thrown them, but only after their forensic examination, it can be confirmed if they belong to the victim.
They are yet to find the murder weapon.
Poonawala and Walkar had met each other through an online dating application. Later, they started working for the same call centre in Mumbai and fell in love.
But their families objected to the relationship as they belong to different faiths, prompting the couple to move to Mehrauli earlier this year, the officials said.
"Around mid-May, the couple had an argument over marriage, which escalated and Poonawala killed her," Ankit Chauhan, Additional DCP-I, South district, had said.
"The accused then cut her body into over 35 pieces. He bought a 300-litre fridge to preserve the body parts and stocked up on incense sticks and room fresheners. He disposed of the pieces in different parts of the city over several days. He used to step out past midnight to dump the severed body parts," he added.
Chauhan said the woman was not on talking terms with her family due to their differences over her relationship with Poonawala.
The complaint by the victim's father alleged that Poonawala used to beat Walkar on several occasions and that she had informed her family about it earlier.
"The woman's father called the accused up but was told that the couple had parted ways sometime back. Unable to contact his daughter, the man then filed a missing complaint," Chauhan said.
After receiving the complaint, the Mumbai Police traced her last location to Delhi and also called Poonawala whose contradictory statements raised suspicion, prompting them to rope in the Delhi Police.
"Mumbai Police took out Call Detail Record (CDR) of Poonawala and Walkar and found her mobile was switched off since May. Then we called up Poonawala and inquired with him as well as his statement was recorded.
"He earlier said they were residing in Chhatarpur locality in Delhi but in May she left his place after some fight between them. When police found some contradiction in his statement, they informed the Delhi Police and transferred all her details to them," a senior Mumbai police official said.
On November 8, Mumbai Police reported at Mehrauli police station regarding the missing woman. During the investigation, a raid was conducted at Poonawala's residence and he was detained.
"Initially, he said that they both had some arguments and she left him. Later during sustained interrogation, Poonawala disclosed that he and the deceased were in a live-in relationship since 2019. They had frequent fights.
"On May 18, the accused and the victim had some arguments. She was shouting due to which he covered her mouth with his hand. Later, he strangulated her, cut the body into parts and disposed of them in a nearby jungle area," a senior Delhi Police official said.
Poonawala has been remanded to five-day police custody.