Bodies of artist Hema Upadhyay, lawyer found in Kandivali drain; husband quizzed

The bodies of contemporary artist and painter Hema Upadhyay (45) and lawyer Harish Bhambhani (65) were were found in separate cardboard boxes from a nullah in northern Mumbai suburb of Kandivali. According to police sources, Hema had been a Mumbai resident for the last ten years and was seeking divorce from her estranged husband Chintan.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a police officer involved in the probe said the bodies were in "semi-naked" condition.

Hema was estranged from her husband Chintan Upadhyay, also a painter, and the couple was locked in bitter divorce proceedings since 2010.

Bodies of artist Hema Upadhyay, lawyer found in Kandivali nullah

The bodies were recovered last evening from the cardboard boxes, which were found lying near a nullah (drain) in Morekar wadi-Dhanukarwadi close to the cremation ground behind Thakur International School in suburban Kandivali, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Detection Dhananjay Kulkarni said.

Police today questioned Chintan Upadhyay, besides her driver and domestic servants, Kulkarni said, clarifying nobody has been detained so far in the case.

"Police have not detained anybody yet and are only making inquiry. Police are quizzing those people who were in touch with Hema and her lawyer," added Kulkarni. An earlier report attributed to police had said three persons had  been detained.

The bodies were stuffed inside cardboard boxes before being wrapped in plastic sheets that were sewn up, sources said. The bodies have been sent for autopsy and findings are awaited, they said.

According to some reports, a domestic help of Hema had lodged a missing complaint with Santa Cruz police station yesterday after she did not return home all Friday. The family of Bhambhani had also filed a missing complaint with Antop Hill police station since he did not return home after having told them he was going to meet a client.

DCP Zone 11, Vickram Deshmane, who is probing the case, refused to confirm whether Hema's domestic help or  Bhambani's family had registered missing complaints.

Police said Bhambhani's car, in which he had left for the meeting, is still to be traced.

The forensic experts haven't yet been able to ascertain the reason for the deaths.

Hema Upadhayay's parents who are living in Baroda and are yet to come to the city. She was residing in Mittal Ocean Building on Juhu Tara Road, Santacruz (West). The deceased was living with her servant Lalit Mandal (35), who is yet to be questioned.

Advocate Harish Bhambhani was a resident of King's Circle in Matunga.

In 2013, Bhambani had represented Hema in a case after she filed harassment complaints against her husband Chintan and alleged that he had painted obscene sketches on the walls of her room. 

(With Agency Inputs)

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