Aaftab’s ‘confessions’ have no legal validity
New Delhi: Aaftab Poonawala's reported confessions about killing his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar, including those made before a magistrate through video conference and in polygraph tests, have no conclusive legal validity, say legal experts. Police and other official sources have said Poonawala confessed to the killing and also to dismembering her body into 35 pieces and dumping them in different areas of the city. However, his counsel has denied that he confessed to the murder. Several legal experts also questioned Poonawala's confession before a magistrate through video conference and termed it objectionable and unprecedented. "This is an objectionable method of appearance. You do not know under what pressure he was in. He should have been physically present before the magistrate," retired Delhi High Court judge Justice RS Sondhi told PTI.
Criminal lawyer Nishant Srivastava, founder and managing partner of Actus Legal, said it is unprecedented that an accused has made a confession through video conference. "Since the confession was made through video conferencing, tomorrow if the accused alleges that he made the confession because on the other side of the camera, the police had pointed a gun at him, what will the police do?" Criminal lawyer RV Kini, who represented the prosecution in the case of film producer Neeraj Grover who was murdered and chopped into pieces in 2008, stressed on physical appearance before a magistrate and not video conferencing. "There are several safeguards in the law so the accused is aware of the consequences of his confession. There are provisions to ensure he should get time to think over for a day to make a confession," Kini said. Describing narcoanalysis and polygraph tests as "useless and a waste of time as they have no legal sanctity", Justice Sondhi said, "What he did after killing the girl is merely destruction of evidence."