CLAIMING THAT his creative language cannot be misinterpreted to prove criminal intent, artist Chintan Upadhyay has sought discharge from the murder case of his wife artist Hema and lawyer Harish Bhambhani. According to his discharge application, entries made by Chintan in his personal diary between 2012 to 2014, have been “randomly selected and read out of context”.
“One of the drawings referred to and relied upon by the prosecution is titled ‘Mama Mama Khun Khun’. Significantly, in the year 2012, many women activists and organizations have used this phrase in their campaign. Thus, an entry of 2012 about menstruation stigma was sought to be relied upon for an incident of murder in December, 2015. The applicant is an artist. His creative language and spontaneity cannot be misinterpreted proving criminal intent. The drawings are a part of his work of over a decade, which cannot be analyzed or interpreted by a police officer,” Chintan’s discharge plea states.
Among the evidence against Chintan, the police had claimed that Bhambhani’s wife Poonam said in her statement that a picture was drawn by him with the words “I will destroy you”. Chintan claimed that the police had not recovered the alleged picture in its investigation and hence it cannot be a circumstance against him. In the supplementary chargesheet filed last month, the police had submitted that an analysis of Chintan’s laptop and hard disks by the Forensic Science Laboratory, yielded no such image files.
During the last hearing on July 11, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had opened arguments to initiate trial against Chintan and another accused. On Friday, Chintan sought to be discharged from the case claiming that there is no “legally admissible” evidence against him. Chintan has said that the alleged motive of the murder claimed by the police is that of a matrimonial dispute between him and Hema with reliance on insufficient circumstantial evidence.
Chintan also claims that while the police had said that the conspiracy to murder Hema was hatched by the accused in Chembur on December 8, 2015, in its supplementary chargesheet, the police claimed that wooden boxes were ordered to allegedly dispose of the bodies in October.
The bodies of Hema and Bhambhani were found on December 12, 2015 in a nullah at Kandivli. The police claim that absconding accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar along with others carried out the murders at the behest of Chintan. Chintan has been in custody since December 2015. The Bombay High Court rejected his bail plea in February last year.