English novel, chess matches, and bouts of solitude: this is how Shraddha Walkar murder accused Aaftab Amin Poonawala is spending his time in Tihar jail.
Carefully selected novel
On Saturday, jail sources revealed that the Delhi Police providede Aaftab with the novel 'The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia', a travelogue by American novelist Paul Theroux after he requested for an English novel to read. "Murder accused Aaftab, who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail, requested police for an English novel to read inside jail," Tihar Jail sources said, as per a report published by NDTV.
The sources added that the book was carefully chosen by the authorities and was approved as it is not based on crime and does not have content that could make him harm others or himself.
Strategizing his moves, playing both sides in Chess
Tihar jail officials told NDTV that most of the time, Poonawala is seen playing Chess, controlling the board from both ends by himself. "Poonawala spends time by plotting chess moves, often solitary and occasionally sparring with two fellow inmates," authorities shared.
According to sources, "Aaftab is fond of chess and he prepares different strategies and plays the board from both ends," sources said, adding that he is a "good player, in this game."
The jail sources also informed that he plans his own moves against himself and that has raised suspicions amongst the Delhi Police since the very beginning of the investigation. "Aaftab is very cunning. His every move seems part of a well-planned conspiracy as if he is playing alone from both ends..." they said.
"It seems from his actions that the murder of Shraddha Walkar was also a part of a deeper conspiracy like his chess strategies," the jail sources stated.
Police suspicious of Poonawala's 'good, obedient' behaviour
One of the police officials investigating the Shraddha murder case said that the accused had completely followed all of Delhi Police's instructions: right from confessing his crime, to cooperating during interrogations, and agreeing to undergo the narco and polygraph tests. But all of this has raised suspicions amongst the police about his "good" behaviour.
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Aaftab's "obedient" behaviour has been matched by answers that seem "rehearsed" to the police, NDTV reported. "Aaftab's behaviour and good conduct are under question. How can there be one answer to each question? It looks like the accused has already rehearsed the answers," officials said.
To this end, the Delhi Police also seeks to conduct a brain mapping in the case to probe what's really transpiring in Aaftab's mind. "We are still waiting for the DNA report, only after that will consider the Brain mapping test," police said.
Increased vigil around Poonawala's cell
The NDTV report further revealed that both the undertrial prisoners lodged in Aaftab's cell are accused of theft and have been instructed to keep a close watch on him.
The Tihar Jail Authority has also said that in view of the dangers to Aftab inside the prison, "special vigil is being kept around his cell", adding, "Aftab neither talks much to anyone nor does he mingle." An additional guard has been deployed outside his barrack to enhance security.
This comes after jail vehicle carrying Aaftab was attacked by men wielding swords outside the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Delhi's Rohini last week.
The Delhi Police has submitted in court that Poonawala may be plotting a "devious" scheme to mislead investigations with wrong information. He allegedly tried to round up the Mumbai Police's probe into the case before it was transferred to the national capital.
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Shraddha Walkar murder case
Aaftab Poonawala (28) killed his live-in partner Shraddha (27) on the evening of May 18 by strangling her and later chopped her body into 35 pieces. He stored the parts in a 300-liter-fridge for over 20 days before going around the national capital disposing off bits and pieces of her corpse.
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