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Mumbai Double Murder: Key Suspect Confesses to Crime in a Video

Bodies of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer found in a drain in Mumbai’s Kandivali suburb packed in cardboard boxes

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Artist Hema Upadhyay was found dead in a drain in Mumbai’s Kandivali. (Photo:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.annemaniglier.com/index.php?/photographs/portrait/">Anne Maniglier</a>)

The main suspect in the double murder of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambani has been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force in a joint operation with the Mumbai police. Suspect Shivkumar “Sadhu” Rajbhar says he called up Hema Upadhyay on Friday to meet her.

According to CNN IBN reports, Sadhu Rajbhar confessed to have committed the crime in a video.

 Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force in a joint operation with the Mumbai police nabbed key accused Shivkumar Rajbhar alias Sadhu from Kavirampur village in Varanasi. (Photo: Utpal Pathak)
Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force in a joint operation with the Mumbai police nabbed key accused Shivkumar Rajbhar alias Sadhu from Kavirampur village in Varanasi. (Photo: Utpal Pathak)
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The bodies of Hema and Harish were found in a drain in Mumbai’s Kandivali suburb packed in cardboard boxes.

The bodies, wrapped in plastic sheets, were found on Saturday and identified on Sunday. Hema’s estranged husband Chintan Upadhyay is among the three detained in connection with the case.

Niteen Pradhan, Chintan’s lawyer told The Hindu that Chintan paid Rs 2 lakh to her lawyer Harish on December 11, the day they both went missing. This payment was made as part of the alimony payout as per the court order. The Kandivali police is now investigating if the murder is linked to this payment.

Flags have been raised in connection to the place where their bodies were found. Investogators are unable to shed light on how Hema and Harish’s bodies were found in Kandivali, although they met in Andheri.

The timeline of events put together by the police indicates that Hema and Harish were intercepted somewhere between Andheri and Kandivali, and were taken to a pre-decided location, which had to be secluded enough for the killers to commit the crime and then pack their bodies in cardboard boxes.

We are checking the Call Data Records to trace their movements from the time that they left their respective houses, as well as to find out who they interacted with during this time. Inquiries are also being made with their friends and family

Senior Investigating Police Officer

The nature of the murders, police say, suggests more than one person was involved in the murder. “The use of force by multiple persons is clear from the fact that duct tape was wound around their faces so tightly that it caused bleeding when it was removed. Two able-bodied adults could not have been overpowered so easily by one or even two persons,” said an officer who is part of the investigating team.

The breakthrough in the double murder came thanks to the truck driver who drove the alleged killers and the bodies from the godown to the spot where the bodies – packed in cartons and wrapped in plastic – were dumped, reports NDTV. The killers had told the driver they wanted to dispose of “some waste material” and asked him to stop at the spot.

Police sources have told The Quint that the main suspect, Gotu, is the owner of a Charkop warehouse where Hema used to store her works. The motive, they said, could be a dispute over Rs 5 lakh between the two.

Harish’s family and Hema’s servant have revealed details of when they heard from the two last, as reported by The Hindu:

  • Harish left his Matunga residence around 7:30 pm on Friday evening.
  • The police said they checked the CCTV footage of Hema’s studio in Andheri (West) and saw her and Harish leaving together around 8 pm on Friday in his car.
  • His daughter contacted him around 8:30 pm to ask him when he was returning home. He asked not to be disturbed as he was in an important meeting with his client.
  • Later, when further attemps to contact him failed, his daughter filed a missing persons complaint with Matunga Police.
  • The Bhambani family went to Hema’s residence on Saturday morning only to learn that she was missing. Hema had left the house on Friday, telling her servant that she was going out for an important meeting. The family then filed a missing persons complaint with the Santacruz Police.

Based on separate missing person complaints filed at the Matunga and the Santacruz police stations, we identified the deceased as Hema Upadhyay and Harish Bhambhani. There were no external injuries on the bodies. We are awaiting post-mortem reports to ascertain the exact cause of death

Vikram Deshmane, Deputy Commissioner of Police , Zone XI

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The Quint in September this year had interviewed artist Chintan on his forthcoming ‘gandi baat’ collection of artworks.

Both bodies were found with their hands and legs tied with ropes inside the boxes, police said, adding that a probe has been launched into this suspected case of ‘double murder’.

Mumbai Double Murder: Key Suspect Confesses to Crime in a Video

The bodies were recovered last evening from the cardboard boxes, which were found lying near a drain in Morekar wadi-Dhanukarwadi close to the cremation ground behind Thakur International School in suburban Kandivali, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Detection Dhananjay Kulkarni said.

Harish, 65, had represented Hema, 43, in a harassment case that she had filed in 2013 against her estranged husband, artist Chintan. The two were reported missing since Friday, reports NDTV. In her complaint, she had accused Chintan of painting obscene sketches on the walls of her room in their Mumbai apartment. The couple got married in 1998. They filed for divorce in 2010.

According to The Times of India, the Mumbai Police are also looking into a financial angle to the murder.

The motive was likely to be a financial matter or a property dispute, officials said. Hema was going through a bitter divorce battle with her artist husband Chintan Upadhyay since 2010. The two were college sweethearts. Bhambhani was representing Hema in a complaint of harassment she had filed against Chintan in 2013 for painting “obscene“ sketches on the walls of their Juhu flat. The crime branch questioned Chintan throughout Sunday and he maintained that he had not spoken to Hema recently.

Report in Times of India

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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