Mehrauli killing: Aaftab Poonawala’s ‘confessions’ have no legal validity, say experts : The Tribune India

Mehrauli killing: Aaftab Poonawala’s ‘confessions’ have no legal validity, say experts

It was reported that he has confessed to his crime in a polygraph test

Mehrauli killing: Aaftab Poonawala’s ‘confessions’ have no legal validity, say experts

Aaftab Poonawala. File photo



PTI

New Delhi, December 1

The reported "confessions", including those allegedly made before a magistrate, by Mehrauli killing accused Aaftab Amin Poonawala do not have a conclusive legal validity, experts said, doubting that several key conditions were not fulfilled.

Though police and other official sources have claimed that Poonawala had confessed to killing his live-in partner Shraddha Walkar and dismembering her body, his counsel has said Poonawala had denied that he had confessed.

The legal experts also questioned Poonawala's confession before a magistrate through video conferencing and termed it objectionable and unprecedented.

On Wednesday, it was reported that he has confessed to his crime in a polygraph test conducted at the Forensic Science Laboratory in Rohini, to which retired Delhi High Court judge Justice RS Sondhi said narco analysis and polygraph test are "useless and a waste of time as they have no legal sanctity".

"What he did after killing the girl is merely destruction of evidence," he said.

Earlier, on November 22, Delhi Police sources had claimed that during the hearing of extension of Poonawala's remand application, he told the magistrate through video conferencing that he killed Walkar in the heat of the moment and it was not deliberate.

Soon after that, Poonawala's lawyer Abinash Kumar contradicted the police version and said he never made any such confession before the magistrate.

On his confession through video conferencing, Justice Sondhi said, "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."        

Experts said according to the law, confessions before a magistrate is admissible evidence and it benefits police in solving a crime, but those through video conferencing and reported in media does not build any case in favour of the investigating agency as they have no legal validity.

"His confession has no legal value because at that time he was in police custody. For a legally valid confession, a magistrate should ensure that an accused does it with a free will. The accused should be given time to think and reflect on what he wants to say," Justice Sondhi said.

Noted criminal lawyer and former additional solicitor general Sidharth Luthra said, "Magistrate is required to put questions to the accused as to the manner he has been treated in police custody and also directly ask the accused why he is making a statement that goes against his self-interest."         

"It is only when the aforesaid procedure is followed that a confession made by an accused before a magistrate during hearing of a remand application becomes admissible in court," he added.

Criminal lawyer Nishant Srivastava, founder and managing partner of Actus Legal, said it is unprecedented that an accused has made a confession through video conferencing.

"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," Srivastava said. 

Tribune Shorts


Top News

50 injured as suicide attacker blows himself up at Peshawar mosque

61 killed, over 150 injured in Taliban suicide attack at mosque in high-security zone in Pakistan’s Peshawar

Suicide bomber blows himself up in mosque packed with worshi...

Supreme Court agrees to hear PILs on BBC documentary on 2002 Gujarat riots

Supreme Court agrees to hear PILs on BBC documentary on 2002 Gujarat riots

The bench takes note of the submissions by lawyer ML Sharma ...

Punjab Vigilance begins assessing properties of former Deputy CM OP Soni

Punjab Vigilance begins assessing properties of former Deputy CM OP Soni

VB sleuths started assessment of Soni’s farmhouse at D R Enc...


Cities

View All