Aaftab Amin Poonawala, who is accused of killing and dismembering his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, 27, told a Delhi court on Tuesday that he did so in the "heat of the moment" and that it was not "deliberate," according to his attorney.
Poonawala was questioned by the judge, "Do you know what you have done," according to Abinash Kumar, who represents him through legal assistance. The defence attorney told PTI, "And he said everything happened in the heat of the moment, and it was not deliberate."
Later the counsel said that he spoke to Poonawala for "five-seven minutes today".
Investigation is still on after the confession
However, even after his confession through investigation by the Delhi Police is still underway. Along with the investigation, a Polygraph test on Aaftab was conducted on Tuesday evening after a city court gave permission to Delhi Police.
Police sought an extension of his custody on the grounds that more body parts and weapons can be recovered based on disclosures made by him.
It also informed the court that a rough site plan has been found at the house of the accused which may assist in the search and custodial interrogation, adding the accused will also berequired to connect the chain of events in the crime.
After the polygraph test, police are likely to go for the narco analysis which was permitted by the court last week.
Police have not found Walkar's severed head and other body parts and are hoping to find clues to recover key evidence, including the murder weapon, that could firm up their case.
Sources said that during the police questioning, the accused told investigators that he dumped the weapon and tools, used to chop Walkar's body into 35 pieces, at the DLF Phase III forest area in Gurgaon after May.
Why is Delhi Police still collecting evidences even after the confession?
Even after the confession, police have been scouring for evidence to nail him in court for the murder of Shradha Walkar but it remains a challenge as the crime was detected after nearly six months. Circumstantial evidence and forensic examination hold the key in such cases, according to experts.
The efforts by the cops are still on because, even though the accused confessed to the murder and disposal of the body, it will not count as evidence.
Poonawalla confessed to the crime but not before a magistrate. However, it is a must to make it admissible evidence. Although he repeated the statement in court, it was a remand hearing and not the actual trial. Thus, that won't be enough to convict him.
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On November 20, noting that it is a six-month-old murder, former Delhi Police commissioner S N Shrivastava said the scene of the crime has been cleaned up and police are basically depending on the confession of the accused, who seems to be a "clever" person.
"It is going to be a very difficult case and will require the help of all organs of the criminal justice system to nail him down. Police will get what it can, but the court will also have to understand the situation and act accordingly," he had told PTI.
However, today, according to police sources, important clues have been found from the bathroom tiles of Poonawala's flat here after a forensic team broke the bathroom tiles and found blood stains on them.
The recovered tiles have been sent for DNA examination to ascertain whether those blood stains are of Walkar and the report is expected within two weeks.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora visited the DCP(South) office in Hauz Khas to review the progress of the investigation in the case.
"We will try to conduct the narco and polygraph tests within four days. Multiple agencies have been working on the case and we will file a collective report in the court. The charge sheet will be filed on the basis of forensic evidence.
"We have to join the dots on the evidence collected so far. We cannot conclude the investigation based on the confession by the accused," said a senior police officer, after the meeting with Arora.
Will the narco-analysis test on Poonawala be admissible in court?
On November 17, a Delhi court granted permission to the police to conduct a narco-analysis test on Poonawala. The test will be conducted at Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital in Rohini.
Officers are of the view that even though it will not be admissible in court, the test could lead to some crucial evidence to firm up the case in court.
What proof will be needed to convict Aaftab?
Another retired Delhi Police chief, who requested not to be named, said, "On the basis of the narco analysis test, if the police recovered something, it is relevant. 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 serving Delhi Police officer said since the accused and Shradha were in a live-in relationship, the case would be strengthened by forensic evidence and DNA samples of the recovered body parts.
"Even if the DNA of one of those parts matches with that of her kin, it will be enough to prove his guilt. The police are conducting searches and he is being taken along, so those things will also be used in court. The fact that he gave different versions to different people about Shraddha will also go against him," the officer said.
Shrivastava said the case would be a test for the forensics department because a lot depends on it.
"The best-possible help of forensic science needs to be taken in this case, and if the accused gets off scot-free, that will be the failure of the criminal justice system of which the police, courts and forensics all are part of," he said.
Another retired officer, who was involved in the infamous Tandoor murder case investigation, said it was going to be difficult for the police to prove guilt.
On challenges in filing a charge sheet in the case, Shrivastava said the investigation is all about finding the truth. The primary evidence in the form of eyewitness accounts, details of murder weapons, clothes, and injuries caused by the murder weapon are one part of the evidence.
There are other circumstantial evidence on where Walkar was staying when she was last seen and in whose company, he said.
(With inputs from agencies)