Chintan Upadhyay living it up in jail, painting and selling art, alleges Hema's friend
One of Hema Upadhyay’s closest friends writes to Inspector General (Prisons); claims Chintan is getting VIP treatment in Thane jail, where he is lodged for allegedly plotting Hema’s murder
Mumbai artist Hema Upadhyay would have turned 44 yesterday, had she not been brutally murdered and dumped in a Kandivli drain last December. Hema has not been forgotten by her friends and family, who marked her birthday just as she would every year — by treating her beloved dogs to celebratory cake and ice cream.
On Hema’s birthday, her beloved dogs got sweet treats, while Chintan might have to swallow a bitter pill instead, if he is stripped of his alleged privileges in jail
There was no cake for Hema’s estranged husband, Chintan, who is currently in jail for allegedly plotting her murder. Instead, he might be facing harder times ahead, as one of Hema’s friends wrote to the prison authorities to question why Chintan was getting unwarranted privileges in jail.
“Chintan used to make sure he spoilt her birthday every year. It was on her birthday that he chose to give her the divorce papers; this had shattered Hema,” said Sanchu Menon, one of Hema’s closest family friends. This year, Menon decided he would turn the tables and give Chintan a hard time instead.
Menon wrote to the Inspector General of Police (Prisons) yesterday, alleging that Chintan was getting VIP treatment in the Thane jail. Not only was he getting home-cooked food, but he was also being allowed to paint in his cell and then sell the paintings for a high price outside. Menon alleged that not only was this illegal, but Chintan was using this money to help the main accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar stay in hiding.
The police have been struggling to find Vidyadhar, in whose art workshop Hema and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani were murdered on December 11, 2015. Vidyadhar, aka Gotu, has constantly been a step ahead of the cops and has managed to elude their grasp so far. He is an essential link in the case, as he can establish the motive of the crime, as well as confirm the police’s suspicions of Chintan’s role.
Letter to prison official
Menon stated that the prison system is rife with corruption. To make his point, he cited several examples of other inmates possessing and using cell phones in jail, brazenly holding prison parties with biryani and alcohol – all of this is illegal. Menon further requested the prison chief to pay a surprise visit to Thane jail and verify the allegations.
Dogs get sweet treats
Hema’s family lives abroad, so her friend Sanchu Menon takes care of her house and dogs. He lives in her Juhu flat with the two dogs, and gave them a treat on her behalf yesterday. “On her birthday, Hema would give her dogs, Lucky and Kismet, vanilla ice cream and cake. This is the first birthday after her death, so I fed the dogs,” he said.
DIG Swati Sathe, who is also the in-charge of Thane Jail, said, “If the allegations are true, then there will be an inquiry and strict action will be taken against whoever is responsible.”