Hema Upadhyay murder case: With Vijay jailed, wife, kids struggle to make ends meet
Saroj Rajbhar, the wife of accused by the police of carrying out the double murders, says eldest son forced to drop out of school, supports family; ailing father-in-law works at a scrap store
Vidyadhar Rajbhar, accused by the police of carrying out the double murders at the behest of artist Chintan Upadhyay, has been missing since the bodies were discovered. But for his community of fabricators, his involvement in the case has been bringing only bad news since. » P10
While co-accused in the artist-advocate murder, Vijay Rajbhar, has been in jail since December 2015, his family says they have been reeling under an acute financial crisis.
Vijay's wife, Saroj, claims that the main killers, Pradeep Rajbhar, Shivkumar Rajbhar and Vidyadhar Rajbhar alias Gotu — who owns the metal fabrication workshop in Kandivli and is absconding till date — kept him in the dark about the cardboard boxes containing bodies.
Owing to financial difficulties, her eldest son started working when he was still a minor. "My eldest son works at a mall and earns around R8,000 per month. He has been the father for his siblings. My second son is in Std XI and the youngest is in Std VII," said Saroj, whose ailing father-in-law has also been working in a scrap store to make ends meet.
She further claimed that prime accused Vidyadhar is still absconding and his family has been doing well after the double murder. "In stark contrast, we are left with no penny and are forced to sell belongings to fight the case," lamented Saroj.
Co-accused Vijay Rajbhar's wife Saroj and their kids at their Kandivli residence
Saroj recalls the December 12 day when Vijay came home at December 2 am, visibly disturbed. "He told me about the whole incident. He was so tensed that he could not even eat. He kept thinking about what the killers did," Saroj said.
According to Saroj, on the day of the murder, Pradeep asked Vijay to transport a consignment from Vidyadhar's workshop to Goregaon. Boxes were loaded in the tempo and Vijay, Pradeep, Shivkumar and a co-accused minor set out.
A few minutes after they left, Vidyadhar told Vijay that the boxes had the bodies of Hema Upadhyay and Harish Bhambhani. A stunned Vijay did not dare to inform the police and told Vidyadhar to dispose of the bodies immediately.
"Pradeep asked him to stop at a drain near Dhanukarwadi in Kandivli to dispose of scrap material. While the others threw the boxes in the drain, Vijay stood by the tempo," Saroj said.
"My husband is innocent. He did not know he was carrying bodies in his tempo until Gotu told him," Saroj said. After the recovery of bodies, police reached Vijay's residence and arrested him. "The tempo was also seized. But after rigorous follow up with the court, I managed to get it released. I sold it to meet the legal expenses," she said. Saroj also approached the Supreme Court to secure Vijay's bail but it was rejected.
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