While the Mumbai police have filed a charge sheet filled with circumstantial evidence against artist Chintan Upadhyay for the murders of his wife Hema and her lawyer Haresh Bhambani, they believe their case against Vidhyadhar Rajbhar, an absconding suspect, is on firmer ground. Vidhyadhar had fled the city with his cousin and fellow suspect Shivkumar Rajbhar after the Hema’s and Haresh’s bodies were found on December 12, a day after they were murdered.
The police have recorded the statements of various people, including Vidhyadhar’s mother Savitri, who told them that her son confessed to having killed Hema and Haresh on the instructions of Chintan.
Savitri arrived in Mumbai from her village on December 18, 2015, a week after the murders. In her statement to the police, she said she received a call from her son on December 13. During the conversation, he allegedly told her, “I have killed Hema Upadhyay. I killed her on the instructions of Chintan. However, Chintan is now threatening to kill me. I am in Itarsi now and will come to Kandivli police station to surrender.”
The police have also recorded the statement of a witness who claims to have seen scratch marks on Vidhyadhar’s neck on the morning of December 12. When asked what how he got the marks, he allegedly told the witness he had got into a scuffle the previous night. The charge sheet also mentions that Vidhyadhar had gone to Bangalore with another person on August 26 to buy chloroform, four days after speaking to a certain Joseph Alexander there about the purchase.
Another key witness for the police is the manager of a hotel in Rajasthan where Vidhyadhar stayed with his employees and fellow suspects Pradeep Rajbhar and Vijay Rajbhar. According to the manager, the three men stayed at the hotel between December 2 and 4. The police claim the three men met Chintan in Jaipur to plot the murders. However the charge sheet contains no evidence to prove such a meeting took place.
Vidhyadhar has been on the run for three months, and the police suspect he is hiding in some south ern state.