In the Kandivali double murder case of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani, a tempo allegedly used for disposal of their bodies after the murders has been sold by the family of the accused. The court has now directed the prosecution to submit photographs of the Tata Matador tempo belonging to accused Vijay Rajbhar. The accused’s family may have to produce the vehicle or forfeit an indemnity bond of Rs 5 lakh given by him at the time of taking custody of the tempo in 2016.
Earlier this month, the 11th witness in the case was called for identification of the tempo and a Honda City car. The car belonging to Bhambhani was found abandoned in Kandivali after the bodies of the two were found in boxes in a nearby nullah on December 12, 2015. The tempo was allegedly used to take the boxes carrying the bodies from the unit where the alleged murders took place to the nullah. While the car present in the court’s premises was identified by the witness, the tempo was not produced.
On October 21, 2016, accused Rajbhar’s father, Ramadhar, had made an application before the court stating that his son had purchased the tempo and the family was dependent on the earnings from it. He sought custody of the seized tempo stating that the probe was complete. The tempo at that time was lying in the premises of the police station. The court had based on a Supreme Court judgment then observed that no fruitful purpose would be served by keeping the tempo lying in the police station and directed it to be handed over to Ramadhar with certain conditions.
Ramadhar had been directed to execute an indemnity bond of Rs 5 lakh and directed not to transfer, encumber or create third party interest over the tempo and also that it be produced as and when required by court or the police. The accused’s father who had appeared before the court earlier this month, had submitted that his daughter-in-law had sold the vehicle.
A Supreme Court judgment allows the prosecution to submit photographs as per procedures laid down for evidence. The court has directed for the production of photographs of the tempo if available or the vehicle could be traced by the police.
In 2015, after the murders of Upadhyay and Bhambhani, the Mumbai police had arrested four persons including Upadhyay’s husband, artist Chintan Upadhyay. Another main accused, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, a metal fabrication artist, who the police claimed had carried out the murders at the behest of Chintan, has remained absconding since the crime. The police claimed the murder conspiracy by Chintan and others was owing to the domestic dispute between him and his wife. Chintan has maintained the police has no legally admissible evidence against him and insufficient circumstantial evidence to claim his involvement.
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