CLAIMING THAT the prosecution has no prima facie case against him beyond mere suspicion, artist Chintan Upadhyay, accused of murdering his wife Hema and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani, applied for bail Friday before the Dindoshi sessions court.
“There is no material to suggest that on account of payment of alimony or on account of property viz flat at Juhu or studio, there were any strained relations between applicant (Chintan) and his wife so as to provide him a motive to eliminate her,” the bail plea reads.
The bodies of Hema and Bhambhani were found in cardboard cartons in a nullah on December 12, 2015.
The prosecution’s contention that the all the accused had met in Jaipur at Chintan’s residence to plan the conspiracy has been contested by Chintan, who claimed he was not present in the city at the relevant time.
He also denied that a meeting to plan the murder took place in Chembur in December, claiming that the main accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar’s mobile phone location shows that he was in Kandivli and not in Chembur when the alleged meeting was held. Vidyadhar continues to evade the police.
He also referred to the confessional statement by co-accused Pradeep Rajbhar, where he has allegedly stated that the murder was committed at the behest of Chintan. Pradeep has since approached the court stating that the statement was made under pressure from the police, wanting to retract it.
An application regarding Pradeep’s plea is pending before the court.
The bail plea also referred to the statement of Poonam Bhambhani, wife of Harish, who has said Hema showed her a painting that Chintan made and sent her on her phone, with the heading, ‘I will destroy you’. Chintan claimed no such painting was found during the investigation, nor was there any evidence to show when it was made or under what circumstances it was seen by Hema.
He further claimed that the prosecution case that Chintan had uploaded the song Alvida on Facebook and that he had said goodbye to her on his visit to Mumbai before the murders, and an alleged sketch drawn by him, cannot be said to be circumstances proving his guilt.
“If the applicant was party to the criminal conspiracy to eliminate his wife with the other co-accused, then he would have been the last person to indulge in such an act which would unnecessarily attract suspicion against him,” the plea reads.