mid-day editorial: Another case coming apart

Despite scores of cases falling apart in the court of law due to their shoddy work, Mumbai Police seem to be least bothered when it comes to the meticulous compilation of evidence in a case.

This was evident again in the chargesheet filed by the Kandivli police in the high-profile murder case of renowned artist Hema Upadhayay and her lawyer Harish Bhambani. Seemingly competing with the Crime Branch, which is carrying out a parallel investigation, the Kandivli cops not only hurriedly arrested Hema’s husband Chintan, but have also wound up their investigation based on circumstantial evidence, even as key accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar is absconding.

The 1,658-page chargesheet depends on several less important aspects of the case, which they wouldn’t have even bothered about had they got strong material evidence.

For instance, the chargesheet includes a Facebook post of Chintan where he had posted a song titled ‘Alvida’. The chargesheet suggests this was Chintan’s final goodbye to Hema before killing her in cold blood.

‘Evidence’ also includes the statements of cab driver Ramesh Soni, who dropped Chintan from Lower Parel to Chembur on December 8. The police have also attached the statement of Jamsedh Shaikh, another cab driver who picked up Chintan from Chembur the same evening. According to the police, it was at this place in Chembur where Chintan and other accused had planned the murder of Hema.

The police have also added the statement of Hema’s servant Lalit, whom Chintan had called on the day of the murder to check if Hema was at home. Cops believe Lalit’s statement proves Chintan was aware of the murder conspiracy and he had called the servant and to check if the murder had been executed. Cops have also relied on the statement of Vidyadhar’s mother who alleged that her son had called to inform that Chintan had given him supari to kill Hema.

But in the absence of the important missing link — Vidyadhar — convincing the court of Chintan’s involvement in his wife’s murder with these pieces of so-called evidence will be next to impossible.

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