Free Press Journal

Chintan finally held in double murder

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Mumbai : Artist Chintan Upadhyay was on Tuesday arrested in connection with the double murder of his estranged wife, Hema Upadhyay, and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani. The arrests have come a week after the couple was found murdered: their bodies were wrapped in polythene and stuffed in cartons which in turn were dumped in a sewer in Kandiwali West. Chintan, who was detained for the second time on Monday evening since the murder, was placed under arrest at around 8:00 am on Tuesday. It was Hema’s relatives’ insistence that turned the spotlight on her estranged husband’s role in the murder. Last week, her cousin had told the media that he and others in the family “strongly suspected Chintan’s role in the conspiracy to kill his wife.” He also alleged that some years back, Upadhyay had warned his wife that he would kill her and could go to any extent to do so.

Chintan has been remanded to police custody till January 1 by a Mumbai court. He is likely to be booked for conspiracy and murder. The artist was known to the main accused in the case, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, who is on the run. Rajbhar was a fabrication worker in whose warehouse the murders were allegedly committed. It has emerged that Chintan met Vidyadhar at an undisclosed location and hatched the conspiracy to kill the duo. Besides Chintan, the poli- ce have arrested four others in the case — Azad Rajbhar, Pradeep Rajbhar, Vijay Rajbhar and Shivkumar Rajbhar, alias Sadhu. They have been booked for murder and causing disappearance of evidence. The police custody of the four accused was on Monday extended till December 28. Except for Sadhu, who was nabbed from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, the remaining three — who are in the business of manufacturing and selling fibre glass used by Hema and Chintan for their installations — were picked up from Kandivali.

It is suspected that the crime was a corollary of the bitter divorce proceedings in which Hema and Chintan were engaged for the last few years.  The interests of the other accused and Chintan possibly converged as Vidyadhar was also involved in a financial spat with Hema. For Chinatn, the sweepstakes were equally high: Hema’s death would free him from the responsibility of providing her Rs one lakh in maintenance every month, as per the orders of the Bandra family court.