Double murder: Police fear key accused may have been harmed

Mumbai: Police probing the double murder case of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani fear that something "bad" might have happened with the prime accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar who is on the run since the crime came to light two weeks back.

Police also said that Hema's estranged husband Chintan Upadhyay, arrested for allegedly plotting the murders, is not opening up during investigation and apparently knows how to dodge questions. Chintan is currently in police custody till January 1.

An officer, who is part of the investigation team, said Vidyadhar might have been harmed. "We are yet to trace his location, but fear that he might have come to harm," the officer said without elaborating. He said Chintan mostly keeps mum during questioning.

"He is not opening up and seemed to be well-prepared. We are yet to question him with other accused," the officer said. Chintan has been grilled at Kandivli police station since his arrest on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Vidyadhar's family members also expressed fear that he might have been harmed.

"We are called here (to the police station) every day, but no one tells us anything about him (Vidyadhar). We are scared that he might have been harmed," one of the family members of Vidyadhar said tonight outside Kandivli police station.

According to her, Vidyadhar could not kill anybody for the sake of money as he is "financially strong". "He had started a new business and was doing good financially. He didn't need to kill anyone for money," she said, adding, "We believe that he is being falsely implicated in the case."

According to reports, Hema owed Vidyadhar Rs 5 lakh and delay in the payment could have been the trigger behind her murder. Besides Chintan, police had arrested Vijay Rajbhar, Shiv Kumar Rajbhar, Azad Rajbhar and Pradeep Rajbhar in connection with the case.

The high-profile murder came to light on December 12 when the bodies of Hema and Bhambhani were found wrapped in plastic sheets and stuffed in cardboard boxes in a sewer in Kandivli. Police had said that Chintan admitted to meeting Vidyadhar at an undisclosed location and hatching a conspiracy to kill the duo.

According to police, the crime was the offshoot of the cases pending between Hema and Chintan. Hema was locked in bitter divorce proceedings with Chintan. She had in 2013 filed a case against him alleging that he painted obscene pictures of women on the walls of their matrimonial home in Mumbai to harass her. Bhambhani had represented Hema in this case.

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