Having not been able to trace absconding accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar in two weeks, the police suspect he might soon run out of money and approach any of his business associates and acquaintances living outside Maharashtra to borrow money, investigators said. Rajbhar has been on the run ever since the murder of contemporary artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani two weeks ago.
Both the Kandivali police and the Crime Branch, who have been on the lookout for Vidyadhar, have failed to get much lead on him.
Investigations revealed Vidyadhar, a metal fabrication artist, had worked with several artists outside of Mumbai and Maharashtra.
“He had lent Shivkumar (arrested suspect) Rs 2,000 when they parted ways on December 14 but we have no idea how much Vidyadhar has with him to sustain himself while being on the run from the police. Though Vidyadhar has been in news, there are people from the art industry who may not be aware that he is wanted and could become his creditors,” said a senior Crime Branch officer.
A team has been sent to Rajasthan and another team dispatched to Uttar Pradesh as he hails from Varanasi and has his ancestral home is there. “A third team has been sent to Karanataka as we located the tower location of his cellphone in that state. Chances are he would not travel to north India. Vidyadhar has worked with several artists in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,” the investigator added.
Police sources said they were still scrutinising Hema’s laptop and iPad to look for more clues regarding her murder. Hema’s cousin Deepak was also called to the Kandivali police station Friday afternoon for inquiries.
The investigators said the Bhambhanis had Thursday handed over a Rs 2 lakh cheque sent by Chintan’s lawyer to Bhambhani on the day of the murder. “It was the money that he was asked to pay because of a court order. There is also a letter along with the cheque,” the officer said.
Contrary to Chintan’s claims that he went to the Crime Branch unit on his own the day the murder case was registered, officers claimed that they had picked up Chintan from the airport upon his arrival from New Delhi.
Crime Branch investigators also claimed that they didn’t want to “jump the gun” to arrest Chintan as they didn’t have enough proof against him. “We were waiting for Vidyadhar to be arrested and the plan was to bring them face to face,” said the officer.
Apart from Chintan, four other persons have been arrested till now in connection with the case. The bodies of Hema and Harish, wrapped in plastic sheets, were found on December 12 from two cardboard cartons dumped in a drain in Kandivali.