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Maharashtra: Why Shraddha’s complaint was not taken seriously? Opinion of former police officers is divided on this

Mumbai: Retired police officers from Maharashtra said on Thursday that policemen in Palghar district should have taken serious cognizance of the complaint lodged by Shraddha Walkar in 2020. In that complaint, Shraddha had accused her ‘live-in partner’ Aftab Poonawalla of trying to kill her and feared that he would cut her into pieces. He said that after the complaint, the local police should have recorded the statement and investigated the matter by registering a case against the accused. However, some other retired officers said that since Walkar had withdrawn her complaint letter, the police could not be held responsible as it could not do much after that.

In May this year, Walkar (27) was allegedly murdered by Poonawalla in Delhi. Poonawalla strangled Walkar to death and cut her body into 35 pieces, which he kept in a refrigerator for about three weeks at his residence in South Delhi’s Mehrauli, before disposing of it in different parts of the city over several days. On Wednesday, the police had said that in November 2020, Walkar had given a complaint at the Tulinj police station in Palghar’s Vasai, in which he alleged that Poonawalla was trying to kill him. He also said that when the local police contacted Walkar, he had withdrawn the complaint saying that the dispute between him and Poonawalla had been resolved.

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However, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that the state government will investigate why the police did not act on Walkar’s complaint. Former Additional Director General of Police (ADG) Prem Krishna Jain said, “The woman (Walker) had approached the Tulinj police with a handwritten complaint, so they could record her statement and file a case against her live-in partner Poonawalla.” “It is the duty of the police to register the case and investigate it as per law,” he said, adding that Walkar had withdrawn his complaint after 20 days, which itself indicated that Lets say she was under pressure. He said that it should be probed as to why the police did not investigate his complaint in the beginning.

Former Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) D. Sivanandan said that the safety of women should be the priority of the police. “They should have taken serious note of the complaint lodged by the woman and taken appropriate action,” he said. “The police could have summoned Poonawalla and taken action against him,” he said. That since Walkar herself told the police that the dispute between her and Poonawalla has been resolved and she does not want to pursue the complaint, it is not the fault of the police. Sivanandan said, “If the complainant is not determined, then the police cannot do anything in such cases as there was a love affair between Walkar and Poonawalla.”

Former state DGP Praveen Dixit said, “If a woman goes to the police station with a complaint, they should not turn her away empty-handed. They should take serious cognizance of it and send a policeman along with them to investigate the matter.” . He said, “In the case of Walkar, a police sub-inspector called him two-three times after receiving the complaint, but by then he had been admitted to a hospital. The hospital authorities also did not inform the police about him.

He said the police went to Walkar’s residence three weeks later, but at that time Poonawala’s parents assured her that their son would marry her, after which she withdrew her complaint. In his complaint to the Tulinj police, Walkar had said, “Today he tried to strangle me to death. He threatened me that he would kill me, throw me into pieces. He has been thrashing me for the last six months. But I didn’t have the courage to go to the police because they threatened to kill me.” The complaint said, “His (Poonawalla’s) parents know that he used to beat me and tried to kill me.”

Tags: Devendra Fadnavis, mumbai police, Shraddha murder case, shraddha walker

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