Hunt on for Hema Upadhyay's killer; Mumbai police question her husband

Hema’s estranged husband Chintan Upadhyay was grilled by the crime branch.

Mumbai: The Mumbai police has identified the main suspect in the double murder of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Haresh Bhambani as Vidyadhar Rajbhar and a search is on for him.

The police has also detained three persons, including a driver, from Vidyadhar Rajbhar’s warehouse. The police also nabbed Shivkumar, alias Sadhu, from Babatpura area of Badagaon, Uttar Pradesh, in a joint operation with the UP special task force. He will be handed over to the Mumbai police on Tuesday.

The bodies of Hema and Bhambani were recovered from a drain in Kandivali area on Saturday.

According to the police, Vidyadhar Rajbhar had been making replicas of paintings and exporting them for Hema and Chintan Upadhyay for several years. Officials suspect Vidyadhar was loyal to Chintan and this could be the reason for the murder.


Hema Upadhaya murder: Key suspect held

Investigations have revealed that Vidyadhar called Hema, promising her evidence against her estranged husband Chintan, with whom she had been locked in bitter divorce proceedings. Sources have also said that Vidyadhar was allegedly angry with Hema over payment issues.

Sources have also informed Deccan Chronicle that Vidyadhar Rajbhar owns a warehouse in the Kandivali area and police officials suspect that Hema and Bhambani were killed in that warehouse.

Hema was cremated on Monday in the presence of several artists and family members in Santa Cruz. Chintan was escorted by the crime branch to the cremation ground. He was being questioned till Monday evening.

According to sources, the police was tipped off about these suspects when a Kandivali-based tempo driver approached them and said that the bodies which were dumped in the drain were transported in his tempo.

The tempo driver also informed the police that he stayed near the warehouse owned by Vidyadhar Rajbhar who often asked him to dump bags and boxes into the drainage.

According to sources, the police couldn’t find any reason behind the murder of Bhambani and believes that he was murdered because he was accompanying Hema.

However, when the tempo driver learnt about the recovery of bodies he realised that these were the same boxes which were given to him by Vidyadhar Rajbhar and so he approached the police.

Later, the police rushed to the warehouse and detained the three labourers of Vidyadhar Rajbhar who were present there. Officials are suspecting that at least five people were involved in this murder. Shivakumar, who was nabbed from Uttar Pradesh, worked for Vidyadhar Rajbhar.

According to the police sources, the preliminary inquiry has revealed that, Chintan after coming to Mumbai had approached Rajbhar’s father, who own the above said warehouse. He used to give him sketches to make sculptures and later packing them and delivering according to the orders. Later, Vidhyadhar also joined his father, and when Chintan moved to Delhi, Vidhyadhar started working for Hema.

In the year 2008, when Vidhyadhar’s mother was ill and died later, Chintan helped him financially and gave him almost Rs 6 Lakh. So, police officials are suspecting that chances are that Rajbhar must be loyal to Chintan so they are questioning him. However, police officials have claimed that they could not find any link of murder with Chintan and the motive of the murder is still unknown.

Even though the main suspect has not been nabbed yet, officials are working on two to three theories. According to the sources one police theory has suggested that Rajbhar was angry with Hema over payment issues, while the another theory is saying that, Hema was murdered because of the inflation in art field and since long she was not giving any order to Rajbhar and due to this he was facing financial crisis. He often used to call Hema for help and she rudely behaved with him every time which made Rajbhar angry over her.

The daughter of Mr. Bhambani is her statement to police has informed that while departing from home her father told her that he is going to meet a client and CCTV footage of Hema’s Andheri based Studio also confirmed their presence. According to the sources, main suspect Rajbhar called Hema on his warehouse and she took her advocate with her.

According to the sources, the last call which was received by Hema was of Rajbhar only, and on the pretext of settlement of their money matter Rajbhar called her to his warehouse, and told her to signature on money settlement documents so Hema took her advocate along thinking that he will check the authenticity of the documents.

In the funeral of Hema her father in law Mr. Vidhyasagar Upadhyay, who is retired professor said, “I can’t believe that Chintan is even a inch related with this murder, He can’t do such a hair raising thing.”

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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