The murder and dismembering of Shraddha Walkar by her live-in partner Aaftab Amin Poonawala had captured headlines and thrust the neighbourhood into unforeseen and undesirable attention.
Poonawala, a chef, had murdered Walkar, chopped her body into pieces in a flat in Chhatarpur Pahadi’s D Block that leaving residents deeply unsettled.
Aaftab is in jail Tihar’s jail number 4 where he is reading books and playing chess by himself. The trial is on.
TOI visited the flat on the first floor of the building where the murder was committed. It is locked and uninhabited.
The people in the neighbourhood spoke about how a wedding, the first since the murder, was set to take place in the same building in February. “I remember the hullabaloo when the incident happened, but we are slowly trying to bring back things back to normal. The wedding in our family will perhaps help wipe out the bad memories,” a resident of the building said.
When asked about Poonawala, some residents said they vaguely recalled the man as they seldom saw him. “I mostly saw him when he used to come home and ask to start the water motor. He used to behave like a normal person,” he said.
Landlords were worried about rents going down and people leaving due to fear.
Just after the incident, a tenant on the ground floor of the same building left. So did some others.
However, the impact was remained for a brief time.
Jaswant Singh, a resident, said: “All that buzz was for 1-2 months. Our children were frightened for some weeks but after that, they played outside every day.”
Rajesh, a plumber who lives nearby, said he was called to court once, where he saw Aaftab. He had no remorse on his face, he said. “I had seen the couple…. It has been a year and residents have slowly forgotten the incident,” he said.
Poonawala and Shraddha were from Vasai, near Mumbai, and had shifted to Delhi in May 2022. He killed Shraddha on May 18 last year. The police filed a chargesheet earlier this year. It said that after killing Shraddha, the chef went to a nearby shop, purchased a saw, three blades, a hammer and plastic clips. He came back to the flat and moved the body to the bathroom and severed her hands at the wrist with a saw and put them in a polybag.
Over the next four to five days, Poonawala chopped the body into 18 pieces and got rid of them bit by bit.
Poonawala even met another woman through a dating app and had brought her to the same flat while Shraddha’s body parts were still there. He also gave Shradha’s ring to her. The woman is a prime witness.
A Tihar official said: “There is not much change in his security from earlier.”