Delhi HC lets Aaftab Poonawala step out of prison cell for 8 hrs daily | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi HC lets Aaftab Poonawala step out of prison cell for 8 hrs daily

Mar 15, 2024 06:11 PM IST

The Delhi high court order came after Aaftab Amin Poonawala’s lawyer Akshay Bhandari told the court that he was being illegally kept in solitary confinement

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Friday ordered Tihar prison to let Aaftab Amin Poonawala, who is accused of strangling his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar and chopping her body into pieces in 2022, out of his prison cell for eight hours every day like the rest of the inmates.

Aaftab Amin Poonawala, accused to have murdered his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, being brought to the Mehrauli forest area, in New Delhi, on Nov. 15, 2022. (PTI File)
Aaftab Amin Poonawala, accused to have murdered his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, being brought to the Mehrauli forest area, in New Delhi, on Nov. 15, 2022. (PTI File)

“Since it is the request of the petitioner, we direct the jail authority to unlock for eight hours as applicable on other prisoners and during the night, he be lodged in solitary confinement,” a bench of justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Girish Kathpalia said in their order.

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The order came on a request by Poonawala against being kept in solitary confinement, complaining that he was allowed to step out of his cell for two hours in a day, an hour each in the morning and evening, unlike other prisoners who were unlocked for eight hours.

Poonawala’s lawyer Akshay Bhandari complained on Friday that he had been kept in solitary confinement since March last year on the pretext of ensuring his security. “It’s illegal. Everyone else comes out for 8 hours a day. I’m not allowed to communicate with anyone there,” he told the bench.

Tihar jail officials disputed the complaint, saying Poonawala was not kept in solitary confinement but was lodged separately in a special security ward that has 10 cells with about 30 inmates. The arrangement was made in light of a Delhi court ordering the jail superintendent to ensure safe production.

To be sure, the Delhi court order on March 31, 2023, was passed following an attack on Poonawala by some members of the public when he was taken to court for production and forensic science laboratory (FSL) in Rohini. Lao also added that dedicated personnel were deployed round the clock for Poonawala’s safety given the threat perception.

Poonawala and Walkar, both originally from Vasai near Mumbai, had been in a relationship for years and had moved to Delhi in May 2022. Walkar was estranged from her family, who said they opposed her relationship with Poonawala.

Days later, Poonawala allegedly killed Walkar on May 18, 2022 at their rented accommodation in south Delhi’s Chhattarpur Pahadi, chopped up the body and dumped the pieces in forested areas in and around south Delhi -- a tactic that helped him avoid being caught till his arrest on November 12.

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