Mumbai double murder: Why was help's statement and affidavit ignored, questions communication designer

Updated: Dec 11, 2016, 12:05 IST | Amir Rizvi Abbas |

Amir Rizvi Abbas had known both Hema and Chintan for nearly 16 years and my wife had been their classmate in Vadodara. For many years, our flat was Hema’s landing pad during her travels

Chintan’s work, Mamma Khoon, on the taboo of menstruation presented as incriminating evidence in the case
Chintan’s work, Mamma Khoon, on the taboo of menstruation presented as incriminating evidence in the case

I had known both Hema and Chintan for nearly 16 years and my wife had been their classmate in Vadodara. For many years, our flat was Hema’s landing pad during her travels. Chintan is well known as one of the most generous persons in the art world.

Amir Rizvi Abbas
Amir Rizvi Abbas

On hearing of Hema’s disappearance, Chintan arrived voluntarily and immediately from Delhi the same morning. The crime branch interrogated Chintan, and he willingly submitted all his electronic data and fully cooperated. As the crime branch did not find any valid evidence after 11 days, it released him. Immediately, he was taken into custody by the Kandivli police. Though the case has now come back to the crime branch, it has not submitted its first 11 days’ investigation report despite being asked to do so by the court.

We are astonished to see the bizarre police imagination and the motive they have given to implicate Chintan. Both Hema and Chintan were successful artists with good careers. There was no property dispute whatsoever between them. Chintan was busy with his art projects and travelled till August to various countries. He had hired well-known advocate Mrunalini Deshmukh for his divorce. The question of Chintan feeling threatened by the deceased lawyer, Harish Bhambhani, does not arise.

Despite the Supreme Court guideline that every piece of information must be attached by the investigator, are the police hiding facts? For example, a statement by domestic help Lalit Mandal that Hema and Vidyadhar had a fight over a money dispute a week before the murder has been omitted. My own affidavit and those of mutual friends (Somu Desai, Sanjeev Khandekar, Lochan Upadhyay and Vaishali Narkar) have not been annexed by the police.

Chintan’s work was used as evidence against him. For example, a work titled Mamma Khoon, on the taboo of menstruation, has been presented by the police as incriminating evidence. For anyone connected with the art world, this is a worrying development.

Another theory of the prosecution which fails to hold water is that of the alleged meeting of the co-accused and Chintan at Chembur. In his statement, Pradeep Rajbhar said the alleged meeting between him and Chintan was at Chembur around 6.30 pm on December 8. But Chintan’s Ola cab GPS and the driver’s statement show no such halt from Worli to the Chembur studio. The call data record also shows the accused’s location in Charkop, Kandivli, and at no point were they in Chembur. The details of Chintan’s visit have been mentioned in our affidavits.

Now, Pradeep has retracted his statement, saying he was coerced by the police to make it.

It has been a year since the murders but justice for the victims remains elusive. I could never support Chintan if there was an iota of doubt about his innocence. Few are talking about the actual killer, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, because false stories have shifted the focus from catching the absconding culprit.

I worry about justice for Hema.

Chintan has been kept in isolation and in a very confusing situation. There has been a gross violation of rights since the arrest. Art is now the last thing on his mind.

The writer is a communication designer

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