Artist Chintan Upadhyay was called again for questioning in connection with the murders of his estranged wife Hema and her lawyer. The questioning continued late into Monday night.
Mumbai police suspect that Chintan could be linked to the plot to lure his wife with a video which his Jaipur-based domestic claimed to have made.
Hema and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani were killed when they went to watch the clip which was offered to her by Vidyadhar Rajbhar, the prime accused who is now absconding. Police believe the clip was just a trap and did not exist.
The investigations unit of the Mumbai Police called him for the first time for questioning today – so far he was being questioned by a unit of Crime Branch though they aren’t the nodal investigators.
The bodies of Hema and her advocate Bhambhani were found wrapped in plastic sheets dumped in cardboard cartons and thrown in a drain in Kandivali on December 12.
“Other than the statement of the (Jaipur-based) servant, even the co-accused have shared information that point towards a possible Chintan’s role in the twin murders.
Based on the leads that have unravelled during the course of the probe over the weekend, we suspect his (Chintan’s) role and and hence summoned him on Monday,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express.
The police relied on an earlier statement of Bhambhani’s daughter Anita that the servant wanted to trade the clip as he was looking for money to relocate to his hometown.
Further, the police have stumbled upon other evidence to suggest that the video was used as trap to convince Hema to meet them at Kandivali.
“As part of the trap, Vidyadhar convinced Hema that a servant he had employed at Chintan’s Jaipur residence had clinching evidence in the divorce case, a video of Chintan with three women. Vidyadhar did this at Chintan’s behest, impressing upon her that the servant was being ill-treated by Chintan. This ‘disgruntled’ servant had shot Chintan in a compromising position and was ready to part with the video, she was told. Hema walked into the trap but said she would meet the servant in the presence of her lawyer,” a senior official explained.
“Sharing ‘evidence’ of bigamy with the court would have strengthened Hema’s civil suit against Chintan and he was sure that Hema was looking for evidence against Chintan,” an official said.
“A family court had recently ruled in the favour of Hema asking Chintan to pay her Rs 40,000 per month as monthly maintenance and also pay her an outstanding amount Rs 4.80 lakh. On the day of the murder, Chintan had couriered a cheque of Rs 2 lakh to her counsel Bhambhani. We want to quiz him on the alimony bit,” he further added.
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