During his 6-7-hour polygraph test on Thursday, Aaftab Poonawala, who is accused of murdering his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, was asked if and how he committed the crime, where he hid the evidence and questions about his childhood and family, among other things.
Earlier in the day, police sources said they had recovered almost 10-12 “sharp objects”, including knives, blades, saws and other tools, from the couple’s Chhattarpur Pahadi flat and the Mehrauli forest over the past week. Continuing their search for evidence in other states, a Delhi police team in Mumbai’s Vasai trawled through a creek in Bhayandar to search for Walkar’s phone, which they suspect was destroyed by Poonawala.
Poonawala was taken to the Forensic Science Lab (FSL) in Delhi’s Rohini for the first session of the polygraph test around noon and left with police around 8 pm. Sagarpreet Hooda, Special CP (Law and Order), confirmed that the test had begun.
An FSL official said: “The aim was to ascertain the locations of the murder weapon, body pieces and Walkar’s phone. The questions were mainly about the couple’s history, Poonawala’s early life, childhood, family, relationships, if/how he killed Walkar and hid the evidence, etc. He was cooperative and gave all the answers. The results will be analysed and compiled. We’ll share the observations and report with police.”
Forensic experts said the test would take a few hours to complete. “We check the health of the person before starting the test. After that, the test is conducted, but we take breaks so the person does not feel anxious or pressured,” said an officer.
Police had earlier taken Poonawala for pre-analysis questioning but had to delay the exercise after he complained of fever.
Earlier this week, police had sought permission from a Delhi court to extend Poonawala’s custody and conduct polygraph and narco-analysis tests on him. The narco test will most likely be conducted next week, said police.
On the sharp objects recovered, a police officer said: “We are checking them for blood traces. Poonawala had said he used two-three mini-saws to chop Walkar’s body into 30-35 pieces in the bathroom. We haven’t been able to find the exact weapon yet… We are verifying his claims.”
A team of Delhi Police also went to Thane in Maharashtra to conduct searches. “As he came to Mumbai after Walkar’s death, he may have dumped her belongings and other evidence in Vasai or Thane,” said an officer. Delhi Police said they also recorded Poonawala’s father’s statement. As per Walkar’s family and friends, Poonawala’s family allegedly knew about the violent fights between the couple, said police. “His father said he doesn’t know anything about the murder. He said Poonawala would rarely talk to them. We are trying to get details on their relationship and Poonawala’s behaviour,” added the officer.
On the search for Walkar’s phone in Mumbai, a police source said: “Poonawala claimed he disposed of her SIM card in Delhi and threw her phone in the creek at Bhayandar. We have learnt he had come back from Delhi to help his parents shift to a new place from Vasai to Mira Road. While crossing the creek in the train, he is believed to have thrown the phone into it.”