Prime accused Vidyadhar was doing well in business – Money wasn’t the motive for Hema’s murder, say cops
No clue about the motive; things will become clear only after Vidyadhar’s arrest, says Addl. CP Patil
It couldn’t have been about the money, Mumbai police said on Friday when quizzed about the progress in the twin murders of mixed-media artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer, Haresh Bhambhani.Additional Commissioner of Police Fatehsingh Patil told Mumbai Mirror that all that the cops know as of now is that they are “totally clueless“ about the motive behind the murders.What’s making the case even more nebulous is the fact that the prime accused, Vidyadhar Rajbhar, had a fat bank balance and was quite well off. The police had earlier suggested that Hema owed Vidyadhar Rs 5 lakh which was why he killed her.

Patil said: “We have absolutely no theory so far because Vidyadhar alone can shed light on this matter. I am only reading about these `theories’ in the newspapers every day. For instance, the police are not aware of any default in payment of Rs 5 lakh on Hema’s part which drove Vidyadhar to kill her. It is only being projected by the media. His family is not aware of any of his business dealings or dispute with Hema and the rest of the accused, too, are workers who did what they were told.Only Vidyadhar’s arrest will solve the puzzle.“

Police officials said that while on the one hand, he had failed in starting a new business and suffered losses, on the other hand, he had also recently cleared most of his bank loans, received a hefty sum of money after selling off a property worth Rs 65 lakh in Charkop and shifted his residence from a slum in Laljipada to a groundplus-one house in Charkop.

However, an officer from the crime branch, which is holding a parallel investigation, maintained that the investigation showed Vidyadhar was upset with Hema due to which he called her to his workshop on the pretext of giving evidence against Chintan. “He meant to threaten her, but probably killed her in a fit of rage as there was an altercation and she slapped him,“ said the officer.

Patil added that the police are also unsure at this stage whether the murder was planned or committed in a fit of rage.

Sources said that following his father’s death a few years ago, Vidyadhar had suffered huge losses in work. “He started the business of imitation jewellery but it failed to take off following which he shut it down. He also invested a lot of money in one of his friend’s businesses which he lost. However, he managed to regain his financial position after working hard at his art workshop and selling off a property,“ said a source.

Vidyadhar allegedly sold off a room in Sector 2 in Charkop, and had recently received Rs 35 lakh as payment, while a sum of Rs 30 lakh was pending.

Around four months ago, he shifted his residence from Laljipada, where he lived next to his workshop, to a rented ground-plus-one house in Kanch Nagori Society in Charkop. This house, where he lived with his mother, wife, and a three-month-old child, was sealed by the police a few days ago.

Sources said he had also cleared bank loans to the tune of around Rs 16 lakh a few months ago.

“Nobody among his circle is ready to believe that he killed two persons for Rs 5 lakh. He was doing well financially barring a few loans and working hard at his workshop. Personally, he was calm, reserved and a gentleman,“ said one of Vidyadhar’s acquaintances who did not wish to be named.

A member from the society where he lived said that his family had not returned since they were taken to the police station for questioning, and that the society had decided to ask them to vacate the house.

On Friday, the police recorded the statements of Hema’s family mem bers, who also trashed the theory that Vidyadhar murdered her for the Rs 5 lakh she allegedly owed him.

“According to Hema’s balance sheet, she owns a studio in Andheri, flat in Juhu, and has at least Rs 60 lakh in her bank accounts. She had lent Rs 20 lakh to her husband and owed money to none,“ said her family’s lawyer Vinod Gangwa.

Her cousin, Deepak Prasad, said that Hema was not a person who would withhold money from anyone.“She had asked her family to pay Rs 2 lakh each to her domestic helps in case of her demise and was generous in financial dealings. In Vidyadhar’s case, it was the other way round and she had lent him money a few years ago,“ said Prasad.