News Karnataka
Friday, June 09 2023

Artist-lawyer double murder: Four arrested, hunt on for key accused

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Mumbai: Four suspects have been arrested for the sensational double murder of well-known artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambani, and three of them were on Thursday sent to police custody till December 19 by a court here, a police official said.

Pradip Rajbhar, Azad Rajbhar and Vijay Rajbhar were presented before the Borivali metropolitan magistrate who remanded them in police custody, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 11) Vikram Deshmane.

Besides the three men nabbed from Mumbai, one more accused – Shivkumar alias Sadhu Rajbhar – was arrested from Varanasi by Uttar Pradesh Police, while police are on the lookout for main suspect, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, who is missing and on the run, Deshmane said.

The accused trio has been charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and other sections of the Indian Penal Code, the DCP told media persons here.

Acting on a tip-off from Mumbai police, Uttar Pradesh Police arrested Sadhu Rajbhar and also recovered certain personal belongings of the victims, ID cards, several ATM cards and other things from him.

The other Rajbhars are believed to have helped Vidyadhar Rajbhar in the two murders and the disposal of the bodies of Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambani in Mumbai last weekend.

The barely-clothed bodies of Hema and Bhambhani were packed in cardboard boxes, wrapped in plastic sheets, transported in a tempo from Juhu to Kandivali and thrown into a large open drain near Dahanukarwadi in Kandivali West suburb of north Mumbai a few days ago.

The boxes with the bodies, their hands and feet tied up, were recovered in the early hours on Sunday.

It was only after initial investigations that police succeeded in identifying them as lawyer Bhambani, 65, a resident of Sion, and Baroda-born artist Hema, 43, a resident of Santacruz.

Police have questioned the transporter who confirmed he had dumped the two boxes in the Kandivali drain, believing them to contain broken antiques.

The motive behind the murder is not yet clear, but police said Hema and her husband Chintan Upadhyay were in a divorce battle for the past five years.

Police have already grilled Chintan – who married Hema in 1998 – on Sunday and allowed him to go.

Hailing from Rajasthan, Chintan and Baroda-based Hema were classmates at the Baroda Faculty of Fine Arts and later made it big in Mumbai art world.



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