Vidhyadhar Rajbhar, owner of the warehouse where Hema Upadhyay and Haresh Bhambani were murdered on December 11, 2015, remains at large three months after the murders. A long-time associate of Hema and her husband Chintan, Vidhyadhar used to store their artworks at his warehouse.
Hema met Vidhyadhar on December 11, 2015, when he called her and said he had evidence against Chintan that might help her in their ongoing divorce battle. Hema, accompanied by her lawyer Haresh Bhambani, arrived at a non-descript by-lane in Charkop and walked to Vidhyadhar’s warehouse.
There, four men allegedly smothered the two before stuffing their bodies in cardboard boxes and transporting them in a tempo to a nearby drain, where they were dumped. The next evening, a sweeper spotted the boxes in the drain. On closer inspection, he noticed a woman’s leg sticking out of one of them.
The next day, the police called in Chintan for questioning. He arrived in the city on December 13 and went to the crime branch, where his questioning began. As the days passed, the clouds of suspicion grew thicker around Chintan, given that he had been in the midst of an acrimonious divorce with Hema. Crime branch officials questioned him daily until December 21 but did not place him under arrest.
However, a day after he was let go by the crime branch, he was arrested by the Kandivli police, who accused him of conspiring to kill his estranged wife and her lawyer.
In the meantime, the police had arrested four other suspects – Shivkumar Rajbhar, Vijay Rajbhar, Pradeep Rajbhar and Azad Rajbhar.
According to the Kandivli police, Hema was killed on Chintan’s orders. Opposing Chintan’s bail plea in the Dindoshi sessions court, they submitted: “Hearing their divorce plea, the high court had ordered Hema to be paid Rs 4.4 lakh. Chintan gave Rs 2 lakh of the amount through Haresh Bhambani, which was received by Hema on December 11. The same day, one of the accused called Hema and told her about the proof against Chintan. The caller demanded Rs 2 lakh in exchange for it.”
The police said Chintan met the other suspects several times, inside and outside the city, to plot the murders. They also said they also have call records and statements of cab drivers placing Chintan in the city a day before the murder.