Chintan Upadhyay gets shot at freedom, Crime Branch takes over case
Hema Upadhyay's friends are unhappy with decision and plan to move high court seeking an investigation by Kandivli police; police tight-lipped on reasons behind transfer of the case
Artist Chintan Upadhyay’s luck seems to be turning around, as the double murder case of his wife and artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani has been transferred from the Kandivli police to Crime Branch Unit-5. Chintan was once given a clean chit by the Crime Branch, although not by the same unit. Soon after he was let go by the Crime Branch, the Kandivli police had arrested him as the prime accused.
However, the police are tight-lipped on the reasons behind the transfer of the case or who ordered it.
A senior police officer said, “The case was transferred to Crime Branch Unit-5 of Mumbai Police on Friday. Since Unit 11 had given a clean chit to Chintan, this might be the reason the case has now been given to Unit 5 and not 11. Otherwise, the case is usually given to the unit under whose zone the police station falls. Since the Kandivali police were investigating the case, Crime Branch unit 11 should have got the case under the usual circumstances. It’s a very strange decision.”
Meanwhile, close friends of Hema are not pleased with the decision and suspect foul play. They alleged that soon, Chintan will get bail and Hema wouldn’t get justice.
Sanchu Menon, the late artist’s friend who has been closely following the case, told mid-day, “We are not happy with this transfer and it really looks like a set-up. The Crime Branch has had a soft corner for Chintan from the beginning. He will soon be released on bail.” He added, “We will go to the Bombay High Court to seek investigation by the Kandivali police in the matter.”
Sources close to the case said with the Crime Branch at the helm, they expect that soon, the prime accused in the case, Vidhyadhar Rajbhar, would be arrested or that he would surrender.
The ill-fated day
On December 12, the bodies of Hema and her advocate, Harish, were found wrapped in plastic sheets and tied with ropes in cardboard cartons in a drain at Dhanukar Wadi in Kandivli West.
The Crime Branch immediately took Chintan into custody and started interrogating him. After grilling him 20 hours a day for around eight days, the Crime Branch let him go with a clean chit. That same evening, the Kandivli police detained him and arrested him the next day.