Hema Upadhyay Murder Case: Mumbai Police arrests Chintan Upadhyay

Chintan Upadhyay, estranged husband of artist Hema Upadhyay, was on Tuesday arrested in the double murder case of his wife and her lawyer in suburban Kandivali in Mumbai and sent to police custody till January 1 by a Mumbai court.

Also read: Hema Upadhyay murder - Prime accused may commit suicide, feel cops

Chintan UpadhyayChintan Upadhyay

According to police, Chintan, also an artist, was the 'prime suspect' in the murder case of Hema (43) and her lawyer Harish Bhambani (65) and wanted him to be interrogated further to clearly establish the motive behind the crime. He was arrested earlier in the day after sustained grilling by police which found inconsistency in his statements, Additional CP (North) Fatesingh Patil said.

Seeking his remand,police told Magistrate Prasad Kulkarni that since the motive of the crime was still not clear, they want to further interrogate Chintan and take him to places outside the state as part of the investigation.

During questioning, Chintan said that he had met the absconding accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar at an undisclosed location and hatched a conspiracy to kill the duo, the court was told.

"Chintan conspired and took the help of other accused in committing the murder," police said. Police also said that the crime was the offshoot of the cases pending between the sparring couple. Hema, a Baroda-born installation artist, 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.

Harish had represented Hema in this case. In the remand application, police also said that Vidyadhar, who is still at large, played a very important role in the crime and was in constant touch with Chintan. Police told the court they might even have to take Chintan to other states for further investigation.

Chintan, also an artist, was a 'suspect' in the murder case of his wife and her lawyer Harish Bhambani and he was detained last night after fresh evidence in the case surfaced, the police said. Subsequently, Chintan was arrested on Tuesday after the police found inconsistency in his statements, Additional CP (North) Fatesingh Patil said. (Read more)

According to the police, Chintan was under scanner after bodies of noted installation artist Hema (43) and Harish (65) wrapped in plastic and packed in separate cardboard boxes were found dumped in a drain in suburban Kandivali on December 12. Based on the statements of Hema's relatives, Chintan was constantly grilled for days by several police officers in connection with the twin murders.

Besides Chintan, the police have arrested four persons in the case -- Azad Rajbhar, Pradeep Rajbhar, Vijay Rajbhar and Shivkumar Rajbhar alias Sadhu and have booked them for murder and causing disappearance of evidence. The custody of all the four accused ends today. Except Sadhu, who was nabbed from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the remaining three -- who are in the business of manufacturing and selling fibre glass used by Hema and Chintan for their installations -- were picked up from Kandivali.

Also read: Chintan put up Alvida song on FB a day before Hema Upadhyay's murder

Based on leads provided by the accused during their sustained questioning, teams of Mumbai Police are still searching locations in and outside Maharashtra to nab Vidyadhar, who used to make the material required by Hema for her work.

Earlier, the police had said that the arrest of Vidyadhar, a resident of Shamsi Housing Society in suburban Kandivali, would shed light if the murder was a fallout of a financial dispute between him and Hema, or whether it was a contract killing allegedly involving some other motive.

Hema, a Baroda-born installation artist, 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. Harish had represented Hema in this case.

The bodies of Upadhayay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani, wrapped in plastic sheets, were found inside cardboard cartons dumped in a sewer in Kandivali on December 12.

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