CITING MEMORY LOSS, artist Chintan Upadhyay dodged tough questions thrown by investigators trying to ascertain his role in the double murder, of his estranged wife Hema and her counsel Harish Bhambhani, sources claim.
Tired of vague responses and constant contradictions, the Mumbai Police decided to move an application to subject Chintan to a narco analysis test. The application for conducting the scientific test is scheduled to be heard on January 8 by a local court.
“Chintan kept on changing his statements and was never consistent. Whenever we questioned him on anything related to the murder, he used to give different versions and when we confronted him with specific details and asked pinpointed questions, he used to cite memory loss and give an alibi that he could not recall as he suffered from memory loss,” a senior officer told The Indian Express. “This is one of the reasons why we want him to undergo a narco test,” added the source.
Bodies of artist Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani were found wrapped in plastic sheet in cardboard cartons dumped in a sewer in Kandivali on December 12. Five persons have been arrested in connection with the double murder. The police are on a lookout for two persons including Vidyadhar and a ‘mediator’ whose identity has not been revealed.
Meanwhile, Chintan’s father Vidyasagar whose statement was recorded last week has told the investigators that Vidyadhar visited their Jaipur home in the first week of December along with co-accused Pradeep Rajbhar, whom he had met for the first time.
While Vidyasagar expressed surprise on the unscheduled visit of Vidyadhar, police sources say the visit was a part of the plan to acquaint Pradeep with Chintan’s home so as to project him as his servant to Hema. According to sources, as a part of the plan which was hatched in August last year, Hema was lured by Vidyadhar with the promise of a video clip by a ‘disgruntled servant’ who is now identified as Pradeep. Hema was made to believe that the video shot by Pradeep showed Chintan with three women and could be used as an evidence in her ongoing divorce case.
“In order to ensure that Hema doesn’t doubt Pradeep, Chintan ordered Vidyadhar to take Pradeep to Rajasthan and show him his place. Vidyadhar followed the orders and took Pradeep along with him in December first week. This was decided while the plan was hatched in August between Chintan and Vidyadhar. This was revealed by the co-accused during their interrogation,” added the sources. Sources claim that they also have electronic evidence in the form of the Call Data Record (CDR)s which show that Chintan got in touch with Vidyadhar in August and since then, numerous calls have been exchanged between the two.
“When Chintan’s father quizzed Vidyadhar on his visit, he said that he had returned from Kota and was visiting Jaipur for business opportunities and therefore decided to drop by. While Vidyasagar has said that Vidyadhar visited their home for 10 minutes, Vidyadhar’s CDR shows that he was at their residence for over an hour,” added the official.
“During the interrogation, Pradeep confessed that he was told to act as a servant who worked at Chintan’s Jaipur residence and was ill -treated, and therefore made a video that would help Hema in her case. In actuality, Pradeep worked with Vidyadhar,” the source further added.
The CDR of Hema confirms that there were at least three calls exchanges between her and Pradeep on the day she was murdered. The CDR will act as an evidence to prove the police’s case on the point of the bait created in the form of the ‘video clip’ by Chintan to lure Hema so that he visited Vidyadhar’s studio in Kandivali where the plan to murder both Hema and her counsel was hatched.
The police have recorded the statement of the Bangalore-based artist from whom the chloroform used to murder the duo was procured. “We had tracked down the Bangalore manufacturer of the chemical who then led us to the artist and we have recorded his statement. In his statement, the artist has told that he had purchased chloroform for Vidyadhar for his assignment,” explained the source.
Meanwhile a manhunt is on to locate Vidyadhar who is still on the run. “He was last tracked to a city in Southern India when he made a call to an artist seeking help. He, however, managed to escape and we are still on a lookout for him. He still remains the central character to answer many questions,” added the source.