Morbidly ‘prophetic’ Chintan Upadhyay shared Alvida song on social media a day before wife’s murder; Hema’s family demands CBI inquiry into his possible role in her death
On the day before artist Hema Upadhyay was murdered, when her husband, Chintan, posted the song ‘Alvida’ on his Facebook wall, was it a knowing farewell to his estranged wife or just bad timing? Evidently, Hema’s family members think it was the first, as they have now demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigate whether Chintan played a role in her death.
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Hema’s cousin Deepak Prasad
In an interview with mid-day, Hema’s cousin, Deepak Prasad said that the couple’s problems had begun years ago, and that Chintan was jealous of her success and would look for ways to spite her. “Chintan served the divorce notice to Hema on their wedding anniversary — October 31, 2009 — to cause her more pain,” said Prasad.
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According to Hema’s family members, she and Chintan would often clash because of her anxiety over conceiving. File pic
Before the couple officially filed for divorce in 2010, they had sat down for a discussion with family and friends, when Prasad told them that if they could not sort out their problems, they should separate and divide the value of the flat they had bought in Juhu.
“Chintan announced that no matter what, he would not pay anything to Hema. He said he would go to any extent to avoid paying her,” Prasad alleged. Chintan and Hema married in 1998 and moved to Mumbai. They struggled for several years, both financially, and in their quest to make it as artists.
They lived in studio apartments in Dahisar and then Borivli, until they were secure enough to buy a flat in Juhu in 2005. Within a year of this accomplishment, however, cracks began to appear in their bond. “Chintan was frustrated that he was not as famous an artist as Hema was. She was known internationally. He could not accept her success and they would fight often,” said Prasad.
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Another major issue that came between them was that Hema was anxious about conceiving. “She had thalassemia, and was worried that if Chintan had it too, the baby would be affected. She asked Chintan to get tested, but he took it as an insult,” said Prasad. Prasad recalled one night when Hema had turned up at his Chembur house in great distress. She and Chintan had fought on the way to an art show in Wadala, and he had told her to get out of the car.
Prasad said he consoled and persuaded her to return home. The same night, when she reached home, she took a plate of food to the bedroom and started eating on the bed, where Chintan was lying. “Chintan kicked her, and she fell to the floor,” added Prasad.
Dispute over alimony
Once the couple had filed for divorce, Chintan moved to Delhi. They had a dispute over the alimony amount — Hema demanded Rs 2 lakh per month, but the court instructed Chintan to pay Rs 40,000.
Hema’s brother Manish Hirani, advised her to cut off all contact with anyone connected to Chintan, including main accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar aka Gotu, who is the owner of the warehouse where Hema and her lawyer were killed.
“The theory that Vidyadhar killed her because she refused a payment of R5 lakh, is false. In fact, she had lent him R2 lakh a couple of years ago. After one and a half years of no contact, Vidyadhar went to her office some 20 days ago to return R10,000, but she told him to keep it,” said Prasad.
“Hema used to wear rings that were each worth R15 lakh. She was not short on money. Neither would she deprive someone else; in her will, she had even left R2 lakh to each of her servants,” he added.
After that day, however, Vidyadhar kept calling Hema, and on the day of the murder, he had called her to his warehouse saying he had evidence against Chintan, which would help her in the divorce proceedings. The police are still looking for Vidyadhar and have formed three teams for the manhunt.
According to Prasad, two days ago, Chintan called Hema’s servant and asked him to hand over her dogs, so he could keep them in her memory. However, in court, Chintan had said that he hated dogs, and even got a court order to ensure that Hema would keep them in cages when he was home.