Aaftab Poonawala told a Delhi court that he had killed his partner Shraddha Walkar "in the heat of the moment", police sources said today. His lawyer, however, said he has not confessed in court. He also said the case against Aaftab is mostly circumstantial evidence, which could help him.
"Whatever happened, that happened in the heat of the moment," Aaftab Poonawala was quoted as telling a court via video link. The court extended his custody by four more days.
The 28-year-old is accused of strangling Shraddha Walkar in May at the Delhi apartment they shared, cutting up her body into 35 pieces and scattering the parts across the city.
The police told the court that Aaftab Poonawala had prepared a site plan of a Delhi jungle where he dumped Shraddha's body parts. The plan, they said, had been found in his house. The police also said bloodstained tiles in his bathroom had been sent for forensic tests.
In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Aatab's court-appointed lawyer Avinash Kumar said: "He is cooperating with the Delhi Police but he has not confessed in court. He has not confessed that he murdered Shraddha."
Aaftab's comments in court may not count as a confession as any statement made during a hearing - instead of a trial - is not considered evidence. Criminal procedure gives protection to an accused against self-incrimination.
The Delhi Police, which arrested Aaftab last Monday, claims he had confessed to the gruesome crime. Aaftab allegedly killed Shraddha on May 18, two days after moving into a new apartment in south Delhi. A day later, he bought a 300-litre fridge to store her body parts and looked at her severed head every day, reports said. Chilling details of the crime, reportedly given by Aaftab to the police, have been making headlines every day.
A confession recorded by the police is not admissible in court.
Aaftab "wants to tell everything to Delhi Police", said Mr Kumar. He said his client was "not completely denying" the crime. "He gave his consent to a Narco test as he wants to cooperate with the police," he said.
The lawyer said since he took over the case, he had spoken with Aaftab for about 10 minutes. In that time, he had not spoken about Shraddha, he claimed.
"He said he wanted to meet his counsel for five minutes. I thought his body language was very comfortable. He was looking like any normal person...his mind and physical condition were very stable. He was talking very politely. He is not worried...he knows of the consequences of the case but he has faith in the legal process," Mr Kumar said.
On preparing Aaftab's defence, Mr Kumar said he was waiting for a copy of the police chargesheet. "My next strategy will be based on that. So far, everything is circumstantial evidence. There is no substantial evidence."
The lawyer brushed off the possibility of facing any anger for defending a man accused of an unspeakable crime.
"It is his constitutional right to be defended and it is my duty to defend him. So far, I am not worried."
The police have not found vital parts of Shraddha's body though 13 bones including the base of a skull and the part of a jaw have been sent for a DNA match.
The saw and blade allegedly used to chop up the body were allegedly thrown in the bushes at a part of Gurugram.