Artist, lawyer killings: Police get custody of fourth accused

Mumbai, Dec 16 (IANS) Satyaprakash alias Sadhu Rajbhar, one of the four men accused in the sensational double murder of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambani, was remanded in police custody till December 22 by a Borivali magistrate here on Wednesday.

Sadhu Rajbhar was detained in Varanasi in a joint operation by Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh Police and a Mumbai Police team and was later placed under arrest.

He is an associate of the prime accused, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, who is still missing and on the run from the police.

The Uttar Pradesh Police recovered around two dozen debit, credit, club and other cards of the two murdered persons from Sadhu Rajbhar. Police sought his custody to help trace Vidyadhar and the missing car of lawyer Bhambani.

On Tuesday, Mumbai police arrested three others – Pradip Rajbhar, Azad Rajbhar and Vijay Rajbhar – for their involvement in the double murder. They were sent to police custody till December 19.

All the accused have been charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and other sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The four Rajbhars were believed to have helped Vidyadhar Rajbhar in the murder and in disposing of the victims’ bodies in a Mumbai suburb’s drain last weekend.

The barely-clothed bodies of Hema and Bhambhani were packed in cardboard boxes, wrapped in plastic sheets and thrown in a large open drain near Dahanukarwadi in Kandivali West, a suburb in north-west Mumbai a few days ago.

The boxes with the bodies, recovered on Sunday, were transported in a tempo from Juhu to Kandivali, police said.

It was only after initial investigations that police succeeded in identifying them as lawyer Bhambani, 65, a resident of Sion, and Baroda-born artist Hema, 43, a resident of Santacruz.

Police have questioned the transporter who confirmed he dumped the two boxes in the Kandivali drain, believing them to contain broken antiques.

The motive behind the murder was not yet clear, but police said Hema Upadhyay and her husband Chintan Upadhyay were in a divorce battle since the past five years.

Police grilled Chintan, who married Hema in 1998, on Sunday but allowed him to go.

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