Aftab Amin Poonawala was charged with murder on Tuesday in Delhi's Saket court for the death of Shraddha Walkar and the destruction of evidence.
In the meanwhile, the accused has refuted the allegations and demanded a trial. On May 18, 2022, Aftab reportedly killed Shraddha Walkar in the Mehrauli neighbourhood. Her remains were dumped in the nearby bush in the Chhatarpur Pahadi neighbourhood of the city, and she was captured in November 2022.
The charges for murder and the removal of evidence were set by Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Manisha Khurana Kakkar under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC.
The court said that there is enough evidence and that the accused is guilty at first glance.
When the judge questioned Poonawala, “Do you plead guilty or claim trial,” she said, “I don't plead guilty and will face the trial.”
The trial and recording of the prosecution's evidence was then scheduled by the court for June 1.
The accused cannot be prosecuted with both the primary criminal of murder and the lesser felony of evidence destruction together, according to attorney Akshay Bhandari. These two accusations might be presented differently. When structuring the fee, this information should be taken into account.
He also contended that the accused cannot be punished for both the primary crime and the charge of evidence destruction based on the ruling of the higher court.
The defence maintained that charging the accused with both counts at once would violate his constitutional rights.
For the release of the deceased's bones, attorney Seema Kushwaha had filed a request on behalf of Vikas Walkar, Shraddha's father.
Additionally, he has asked for the bones to be shown early so that he may administer the final rites within a year of the deceased person's passing. On the following day, Delhi police will provide a response.
The owner of the property where the crime was committed also went to court to ask for the de-sealing of the offending property.
On April 3, the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Amit Prasad and Madhukar Pandey submitted a copy of the verdict, which the court entered into the record.
According to SPP Amit Prasad, there is conclusive evidence that the charge under section 201 of the IPC may be brought against both the primary criminal and the person who destroys evidence to conceal the main perpetrator.
On a previous occasion, the defence attorney for the accused Aftab had claimed that the allegations of murder and destruction of evidence cannot be brought together. There are several ways to phrase these accusations.
Attorney Akshay Bhandari had suggested that Aftab might be held accountable for either murder or for destroying evidence. The defence lawyer contended that the accused cannot be held accountable for both murder and the removal of evidence under Sections 201 and 302 of the IPC. It may be phrased differently.
Simply declaring that “I (Aftab) am guilty of murder” is insufficient, according to advocate Bhandari, is not adequate. Only eyewitness testimony are available to them. The prosecution is required to provide evidence on how the offence was committed.
SPP Amit Prasad refuted the idea that section 201 might be used to create joint charges for concealing evidence.
Additionally, he claimed that the court had been presented with the chain of evidence, witness statements, records of earlier incidents and circumstances, forensic evidence, and other materials.
The Delhi Police ended their defence of a murder accusation and the loss of evidence against the defendant.