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Double murder: 3 arrested in Mumbai, hunt on for main culprit

Hema Upadhyay murder case

Mumbai : Even as Mumbai Police is in hot pursuit of a key accused in the double murder case of installation artist Hema Upadhyaya and her lawyer, the three others earlier detained from the city were today placed under arrest.

The trio — Azad Rajbhar, Pradeep Rajbhar and Vijay Rajbhar — who were detained in Mumbai on Sunday were arrested today, Additional Commissioner of Police (North Region) Fatehsingh Patil said.

They are in the business of manufacturing and selling fibre glass used by Hema and her estranged husband and artist Chintan Upadhyaya for their installations. They were later produced in a local court, which remanded them in police custody till December 19, Patil said.

Based on the leads provided by the three during their sustained questioning, teams of Mumbai Police have been dispatched to various locations outside Maharashtra to track down and nab the key accused, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, who used to make the material required by Hema for her work.

According to police, Vidyadhar and Shivkumar Rajbhar alias Sadhu, who was detained at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh yesterday, and the three arrested allegedly killed Hema Upadhyaya (43) and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani (65) on Saturday last week.

Sadhu is being brought to Mumbai by train from UP and is expected to be here tonight after which he would be formally arrested, Patil said.

Police said the arrest of Vidyadhar, a resident of Shamsi Housing Society in suburban Kandivali, would shed light if the murder was a fallout of a financial dispute between him and Hema, or whether it was a contract killing allegedly involving some other motive.

The police have, meanwhile, sealed Vidyadhar’s warehouse in Kandivali. The bodies of the victims packed in cardboard boxes were found in a drain in Kandivali.

As per police, on Saturday night, the day they were believed to have been killed, Vidyadhar had called Hema on her mobile at around 7.30 PM.

A manhunt was launched for Vidyadhar soon after Sadhu was detained by the UP Special Task Force in Varanasi yesterday following a request by Mumbai police.

Sadhu had gone public with the claim that the two were killed under instructions from Vidyadhar.

Hema, a Baroda-born painter and installation artist, was locked in bitter divorce proceedings with her husband. She had in 2013 filed a case against him alleging that he painted obscene pictures of women on the walls of their matrimonial home in Mumbai to harass her. Bhambhani had represented Hema in this case.

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