An Indian man allegedly killed his live-in partner six months ago and chopped her body into dozens of pieces, police in the Indian capital New Delhi said on Monday. The suspect reportedly kept the body parts in a refrigerator and disposed of them in a forest, piece by piece, over the span of three weeks.
Aftab Ameen Poonawala, 28, was arrested by the Delhi Police on Saturday on charges of murdering his 26-year-old girlfriend, Shraddha Walker.
The couple, originally from Mumbai, had not known each for long. They met earlier this year through the dating site Bumble, Ankit Chauhan, a senior police officer in Delhi, told CBS News.
But when their families didn’t approve of their relationship — apparently because of their different religious identities — they moved to the Indian capital city around the end of April or beginning of May, police said.
The couple started living together in a rented apartment in the Mehrauli area of South Delhi, police said.
“In mid-May, he killed the girl seemingly when an argument escalated… he strangled her and cut the body into several pieces,” Chauhan told CBS News.
Indian news reports quoting police sources said the alleged killer, who is a food blogger, bought a 300-liter refrigerator to store dozens of the victim’s body parts, and then took three weeks to dispose of the pieces one by one in a nearby forest in the middle of the night.
Some Indian news reports said Poonawala killed Walker after she started pressuring him to get married, but Chauhan told CBS News the “motive is not yet clear, the investigation is still on, more details will emerge soon.”
Poonawala is in police custody for five days and is expected to be interrogated more.
Walker had not been in touch with her parents after she moved out of her Mumbai house and started living in with her partner, police said. But in September, one of her friends informed her family that her phone had been off for two months.
The girl’s father, Vikash Madan Walker, then approached the Mumbai police and filed a missing report. The Mumbai police found that her last phone location was in Delhi so transferred the case to police there.
In Delhi, the girl’s father briefed the police about his daughter’s relationship with Poonawala. That’s when he was arrested and confessed to the killing, police said.