Hema Upadhyay murder: I strangled her after she slapped me, accused told neighbour
Prime suspect Vidyadhar Rajbhar allegedly told his neighbour, who lent him Rs 30,000, that he strangled Hema Upadhyay in a fit of rage after she slapped him during argument over Rs 5 lakh
Investigations into the gruesome double murder of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani, have led to a startling testimony from a witness who said the main accused had told him over a phone call that he had strangled both the victims after a heated argument about money.
Watch Video: Accused confesses to smothering Hema, Harish
Two days after the murder, Gotu (left) called the neighbour-lender to say he had hoped to pay him back after receiving Rs 5 lakh from Hema Upadhyay (extreme left)
The accused, Vidyadhar Rajbhar (also known as Gotu) is the owner of the warehouse where Hema and Harish were killed, and the police have learnt that he was struggling to keep his business afloat and was heavily in debt.
On Friday evening, Hema goes to Vidyadhar’s warehouse and they have an argument over a Rs 5 lakh payment. She slaps him. Illustration/Uday Mohite
The police have been trying to locate him, and while tracking his Call Details Record (CDR), they realised that Gotu had received a call from his neighbour two days after the murder. When the cops asked the neighbour about the phone call, he told them that not only had Gotu spoken to him, but he also confessed to both the murders.
Enraged, Vidyadhar strangles Hema to death. Her lawyer, Harish witnesses the whole scrap
The police already knew that Gotu was struggling with finances. His father had helped many artists like Chintan Upadhyay, and shared a working relationship with them. But after he passed away, Gotu took over the warehouse and faced heavy losses in business. He borrowed around R15 lakh from neighbours. The neighbour the police spoke to had also lent Gotu Rs 30,000 and had asked for his money back.
Harish is bound and gagged by Vidyadhar, who then calls his accomplices for help
“The accused had taken a loan of Rs 30,000 from his neighbour on November 29, and had promised to repay it on December 12. But after committing the crime, he fled the city. The neighbour kept calling him until he received the call on December 13 and confessed to the murder,” said a police officer.
Not wishing to leave any loose ends, Vidyadhar and his workers decide to strangle Harish as well
Gotu told his neighbour that he was under a lot of pressure to clear his debts and so had hoped for R5 lakh from Hema. But when she refused to pay him, he called her to his godown under the pretext of providing some information that would help her in her divorce from her husband, Chintan.
When she arrived on Friday evening, an argument had broken out between Gotu and Hema, during which she had slapped him. Incensed, Gotu throttled her to death.
“Vidyadhar told his neighbour that it all happened in a fit of rage. When Hema slapped him, he could not control his anger and killed her on the spot. The lawyer Harish witnessed the whole thing, so he had to be killed as well,” said sources in the police.
First, Gotu gagged and bound Harish and then called his accomplices to figure out what was to be done. They decided they could not leave any loose ends, so Gotu strangled Harish as well. Sources added that Gotu had also sustained a few injuries on his face and body in the scuffle.
When the murder came to light and the news began to circulate on WhatsApp and social media, Gotu decided to flee. Cops have learnt that at the time of the phone call with the neighbour, Gotu was at Itarsi railway station in Madhya Pradesh.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe
Mumbai building collapse claims 5 lives