Investigations into the death of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani show that the latter was not an unintended target in the conspiracy allegedly plotted by Chintan Upadhyay, Mumbai police have said.
The police allege that Chintan knew Bhambhani would have pursued Hema’s murder . “It was on Bhambhani’s suggestion that Hema decided to appeal in the Bombay High Court against the decision of the family court, which ruled in Chintan’s favour. Chintan was sure that if Hema went missing, Bhambhani would suspect him, and therefore decided to kill them both,” alleged an official.
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Five people have been arrested in connection with the double murder and a search is on for two more, including Vidyadhar Rajbhar and a ‘mediator’ whose identity has not been revealed.
“As part of the plan, Chintan asked Vidyadhar to convince Hema that a ‘disgruntled servant’ who worked at Chintan’s Jaipur residence had collected ‘clinching evidence’ against him, which would help her in the case. Chintan was right in his assessment that Hema would meet Vidhyadhar only in presence of her lawyer,” alleged the official.
“The fact that the co-accused arranged for two cartons and enough plastic sheets to wrap ‘two bodies’ shows that the plan was to kill them both.”
The police, however, are trying to find out why Chintan would send cheques to Bhambhani and not Hema, when Hema was the litigant. “The last cheque of Rs 2 lakh was sent to Bhambhani on the day of the murder. Ordinarily, it should have come to Hema,” alleged the officer.
Chintan, arrested on Tuesday for the murders, had promised to pay Vidyadhar between Rs 10-15 lakh seven days after the murder, sources said. “A sum of around Rs 15 lakh was promised, which included waiving off Rs 6 lakh that Vidyadhar owed Chintan for his father’s treatment,” an officer said.