Hema Upadhyay murder case: Chintan drew storyboard to plan Hema and her lawyer's murder

Offered Rs 22 lakh supari in attempt to escape excruciatingly lengthy divorce and increasing alimony demands, say cops; prime suspect Vidyadhar Rajbhar remains elusive piece in jigsaw

The police’s surprise move of arresting Chintan Upadhyay yesterday came after the artist confessed that he had plotted the murder of his estranged wife, Hema, and her lawyer, Harish Bhambhani, and had even paid Rs 22 lakh to the killers for the job. What’s more, Chintan — a well-known contemporary artist — drew a detailed storyboard to explain to the killers how they should carry out the murder.

Hema Upadhyay murder: Cops can't find Gotu, so they are pinning it on Chintan, says lawyer

If you say so: Chintan Upadhyay in a performance piece from 2013
If you say so: Chintan Upadhyay in a performance piece from 2013

Joining the dots
This confession came nearly 10 days after the double murder came to light with the discovery of the mutilated bodies of Hema and her lawyer in a Kandivali ditch on December 12. While Chintan had been questioned by the Crime Branch every day, the Kandivali police did not get access to him, said sources in the force. In turn, the Kandivali police, who had custody of the four other arrested accused, did not give the Crime Branch access to them. Because of this, a link could not be established between Chintan and the murder plot.

After a week of claiming innocence every time he was questioned by the Crime Branch, Chintan confessed to the Kandivali police that he plotted the murder of his wife and her lawyer. File pic
After a week of claiming innocence every time he was questioned by the Crime Branch, Chintan confessed to the Kandivali police that he plotted the murder of his wife and her lawyer. File pic

The main theory was that Hema and Harish were killed in an art warehouse in Kandivali, owned by the main accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar, also known as Gotu. But investigations showed that on the day of the murder, Hema had received a call not from Gotu, but one of his workers, Pradeep. When the police questioned Pradeep, he spilled the beans and said Gotu had used his cell phone to call Hema to mislead the police. Pradeep went to state that this idea — the whole murder plot, in fact — was concocted by Hema’s husband, Chintan.

So, late on Monday night, after the Crime Branch had finished questioning him, Chintan was summoned by the Kandivali police. He was made to sit across the four other arrested accused — tempo driver Vijay Rajbhar, Pradeep Rajbhar, Azad Rajbhar and Shivkumar Rajbhar — as they were all cross-questioned. According to sources, within a few hours, Chintan confessed to the investigators that he had plotted the murders as he was fed up of Hema’s increasing demands for money.

Chintan told the police that initially Hema had demanded Rs 25,000 as alimony, which she later increased to Rs 40,000 and then to Rs 1 lakh. He didn’t want to keep doling out money to her, and so planned to get rid of her. But this would require money as well. Chintan said the killers had asked him for Rs 30 lakh to carry out the plan, but they settled on Rs 22 lakh.

Officers from Kandivali police station said that Chintan had even come down to Mumbai from Delhi on December 9 for a detailed meeting with Gotu and his workers in a Chembur hotel. He told the police he had even sketched the scenario on sheets of paper to explain the whole plan to Gotu, Pradeep and the tempo driver Vijay.

It was his idea to lure Hema to the warehouse — Gotu was instructed to tell her that he had an incriminating video of Chintan with another woman. It was his intention from the beginning to kill not just Hema but also her lawyer. The killers were warned not to make any noise, to avoid drawing the attention of passers-by. The tempo driver, Vijay, was to keep a watch outside as the rest of them killed Hema and Harish. The bodies would then be wrapped and loaded in the tempo, dumped in a creek, where they would either be devoured by animals or rot beyond recognition.

However, the tempo driver lost his nerve upon seeing the bodies, and decided to tip off the police about it. He also told the police that there was another man in a red shirt who drove all of them to meet with Chintan, but did not join them for the meeting. The police are on the lookout for the man.

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10 Comments

  • Swami23-Dec-2015

    13)Who is the nominee for Hema's property after divorce? 14)Why is Deepak Prasad claiming contrary to all the media reports and friends opinion about Chintan's relationship with Hema and her family?15)The report says “the tempo driver lost his nerve upon seeing the bodies, and decided to tip off the police about it” But didn’t the police say the driver never approached them, they arrested him instead?

  • Simi23-Dec-2015

    Too Good observation...and happy to see so much of interest...BTW,.... if Chintan wanted to do away with the increasing money demand... Hema had asked for up to 1 Lakh.. he could have given her the 22 Lakh and done away with her.. than to kill her...how does such a high profile person demands only Rs 25000 - 1 Lakh.... Police has this very weird thing of arresting anyone just to save their ass...

  • Swami23-Dec-2015

    10)Did Hema give 5lakhs to Vidyadhar, or did Chintan give that or Did Hema owe 5lakhs to Vidyadhar? 11)If according reports and Deepak Parsad, Hema is more successful and makes more money than Chintan, why would he pay her alimony?

  • Swami23-Dec-2015

    5)Why would they make phone calls and murder them, knowing that the victims would have informed others where they were going in the night. 6)If Chintan was involved, would he not know that the would be Suspect number 1 considering the bitter legal battle? 7)If Chintan is involved, will the murders be committed like with so many footprints all over the town? Cellphone records, WATSAPP, Carton, money trail.

  • Swami23-Dec-2015

    Lots of troubling aspects to this case, with too much misinformation given to the media. 1)The report says “He told the police he had even sketched the scenario on sheets of paper to explain the whole plan to Gotu, Pradeep and the tempo driver Vijay.” What is the plan? To make phone calls, hire bunch of illiterate guys and dump the body half a kilometre away from the murder site?

  • Swami23-Dec-2015

    8)Bhambani's daughter says "The killers knew that if they were to kill Hema, my father would leave no stone unturned to seek justice for her. That is the reason they also killed him," This makes no sense. Why would cops and families keep quiet if Bhambani is murdered too? Two high profile murders is worse than one murder. 9)Why did the cops take so many days to find the Honda City and the Tempo in Kandivli, when they had the driver in their custody?

  • Swami23-Dec-2015

    2) They said bodies were found with only undergarments, and now they're saying they were identified with their clothes. Why would the killers strip their clothes?3)Why would Shivkumar leave the jewellery and money and keep ATM and credits cards of the murdered? Especially since Vidyadhar had told him that cops will come to Varanasi looking for them. 4)Why would they dispose in the cartons with Vidyadhar’s warehouse details printed on it? Sounds dumb.

  • Swami23-Dec-2015

    12)Bhambani's daughter says "It was a well-planned, coldblooded murder," As reported, Vidyadhar came to Hema's office to ask her phone number. Makes no sense, why would he not have her number if they had a working relationship. Besides, Vidyadhar could have got the phone number from Chintan. Why would Vidyadhar publicly appear before the murder in her office? Its like he wanted to get caught deliberately. If Chintan is involved directly, would he plan to make this look so retarded?

  • Swami23-Dec-2015

    Too many holes in the investigation, and the murder hardly looks planned. Dumping bodies in the middle of city in a carton with the warehouse address, cellphone trail, money trail, bumping off two high profile people despite being the suspect number 1.

  • Sanjay23-Dec-2015

    Swami, these reports are being reported by media. I work in media so I know how it works. We get some little news and then we add our own details. The police has not given all this information. Secondly in a divorce it is not just about money. Sometimes you start hating yo spouse so much that you rather see them dead. She was not willing to let go without making him suffer. He decided that he rather pay a one time cost than pay for ever. Spouse killing a spouse is not unheard of!

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