More than three years after the bodies of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani were found in a nullah in Kandivali, the trial against her husband, artist Chintan Upadhyay, and three others began on Thursday before the Dindoshi sessions court.
The first witness in the case was the complainant, who had conducted a search of two boxes found in the nullah on December 12, 2015, and found two bodies in them.
The witness told the court that in 2015, he was posted as an assistant police inspector in Kandivali. Based on information he received, he went to the nullah at Dahanukarwadi in Kandivali, where he noticed two plastic bags and two boxes floating in the water. He told the court that he asked a man to swim towards the boxes. In one of the boxes, he noticed a woman’s legs, so he called his senior, who reached the spot later. The police inspector who reached the spot called up the senior police inspector and two other police personnel were also sent to the spot, the witness said. The police also called the Fire Brigade, which removed the boxes from the water with the help of a rope, the witness told special public prosecutor Vaibhav Bagade. When the boxes were opened, one of the boxes had the body of a woman aged 40-45 and another one had the body of a man, aged around 55 years, the witness said.
The witness then described the clothes worn by the man and woman at the time. The man’s hands, legs, mouth and eyes were covered with a black-coloured tape. Based on the situation the bodies were found in, the police suspected the involvement of more than one person in the offence, the witness said. “I gave a complaint to the police station on December 12, 2015, mentioning these details,” the witness told the court. He also identified the complaint shown to him. The witness also identified the black-coloured plastic tape, the clothes worn by the victims, the cardboard and other articles found at the spot on the day of the incident.
The witness’s cross-examination will commence next week. The Mumbai police claims that absconding accused, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, a metal fabrication artist, along with his associates, Pradeep Rajbhar and Shivkumar Rajbhar, and a minor, murdered Hema and Bhambhani at the behest of Chintan. While Vidyadhar is on the run, the others have been in custody since 2015.