A Mumbai Sessions Court has convicted acclaimed artist Chintan Upadhyay for conspiring and abetting the murder of his ex-wife Hema Upadhyay and her la
his ex-wife Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Haresh Bhambhani. Sessions Judge SY Bhosale held three other co-accused guilty for murder.
Hearing on sentencing is scheduled on Saturday. On December 12, 2015, a scrap dealer alerted the Kandivali police about two suspicious looking cardboard boxes floating in a nullah. These boxes contained two bodies, later identified as Hema and Harish, with their hands tied behind their backs and their mouths and eyes taped shut.
Eleven days later, on December 22 Chintan Upadhyay was arrested. The other accused are Vijay Rajbhar, Pradeep Rajbhar, Shivkumar Rajbhar and one juven juvenile. The main accused, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, is still at large. The Dindoshi Sessions Court charged Upadhyay and four others for alleged offencesoffences of Sections 302 (murder), 396, 201(destruction of evidence), 109 (abetment), and 120B read with 34 of the IPC.
The court will hear the accused on the quantum of punishment on Saturday.
Chintan was out on bail since 2021 while the three other accused – Vijay Rajbhar, Pradeep Rajbhar and Shivkumar Rajbhar – were in custody. The court has directed for Chintan to be taken into custody now.
Hema and Bhambhani had gone missing on December 11, 2015. The next day, a scrap collector alerted the police that two suspicious-looking cardboard boxes wrapped in white plastic were seen floating in a nullah in the northern suburb of Kandivali. The bodies of Hema and Bhambhani were found dumped in the boxes. Ten days later, the Mumbai police arrested Chintan claiming that the murders were done by the co-accused at his behest over his strained relationship with Hema. The 50-year-old artist was granted bail in September 2021, after spending nearly six years in jail since his arrest.The prosecution led by Special Public Prosecutor Vaibhav Bagade examined 56 witnesses.
It is the prosecution’s case that property disputes and enmity following the couple’s divorce led him to plot the murder. The police claimed that it was on Chintan’s orders that fabrication artist- Vidyadhar Rajbhar- killed the wife Hema Upadhyay and her lawye with help from others.
The prosecution argued that Vidyadhar called his mother and told her that he wanted to surrender before the police and also that he had killed Hema on instructions of Chintan.
Chintan, through his lawyers, denied all the allegations and claimed that he was made a scapegoat.
Appearing for him, Senior Advocate Raja Thakare and Advocate Bharat Manghani contended that Chintan had no motive to eliminate his ex-wife. The divorce had come through and he had already paid a huge amount in maintenance.
Chintan, through his lawyers Raja Thakare and Bharat Manghani, had submitted that there was no evidence to link him to the murders. They had submitted that Chintan was in Delhi when the murders took place and that he had no motive to commit the crime as their matrimonial dispute had been over after the family court granted them divorce in October 2014.