Accused Aftab Poonawalla with his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar in a file photo. Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: A local court has allowed a narco-analysis test, for lie-detection, on Aftab Poonawala, the 28-year-old accused of killing his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, 26, and chopping up her body six months ago.

His police custody was also extended by five days at Thursday’s hearing, and the police now plan to take him to Himachal Pradesh’s Parvati Valley, where the couple holidayed before moving to Delhi in May.

Aftab Poonawala was produced before a Delhi court via video link.

Police have been interrogating him since the arrest last Friday and had got five days of custody on Saturday that ended. Custody extension was sought as police argued that crucial evidence — such as Shraddha Walkar’s mobile phone and the knife he used to chop up her body — remains to be gathered.

So far, police have a “confession” in custody which, legal experts say, is not valid evidence unless made before a judge and corroborated with other material proof. The narco test may help fill that crucial gap.

Ahead of the hearing, expecting that he’d be brought in, a large group of lawyers was seen outside the courtroom, shouting “hang him, hang him”.

Aftab is accused of strangling his live-in partner Shraddha Walker to death and chopping her body into 35 pieces.

Police sources on Thursday said that Aftab had charred his live-in partner’s face to hide her identity. The sources claimed that he had first chopped her body into 35 pieces, then burnt her face in such a way that it becomes unidentifiable even if the body parts are discovered.

Though committed in May, the crime was uncovered over the past month only after Shraddha Walkar’s father — who’d not not been in touch with her since last year as he opposed her inter-faith relationship — went to the cops after her friends told him she’d been out of touch with them too.

The couple, who had met on dating app Bumble around three years ago, had moved to Delhi only in mid-May this year after living together in their hometown Vasai near Mumbai. On May 18, after an argument four days after moving into their rented flat in Mehrauli, Aftab strangled Shraddha, whose body he cut up, kept the pieces in a fridge, and dumped them in a jungle over the next 18 days, police have said.

What’s narco test?
In a ‘narco’ or narcoanalysis test, a drug called sodium pentothal is injected into the body of the accused, which transports them to a hypnotic or sedated state, in which their imagination is neutralised. In this hypnotic state, the accused is understood as being incapable of lying, and is expected to divulge information that is true.
Sodium pentothal or sodium thiopental is a fast-acting, short duration anaesthetic, which is used in larger doses to sedate patients during surgery. It belongs to the barbiturate class of drugs that act on the central nervous system as depressants.
As the drug is believed to weaken the subject’s resolve to lie, it is sometimes referred to as a “truth serum”, and is said to have been used by intelligence operatives during World War II.