Artist Chintan Upadhyay sentenced to life for abetting estranged wife's murder

 - Sakshi Post

Mumbai, Oct 10 (IANS) A Mumbai sessions court on Tuesday sentenced famed artist Chintan Upadhyay to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of criminal conspiracy and abetment to the sensational double-murder of his estranged wife Hema Upadhyay, an equally renowned artist, and her lawyer in December 2015.

Along with Upadhyay (50), three of his associates -- a tempo driver named Vijay Rajbhar and helpers Pradeep Rajbhar and Shivkumar Rajbhar -- were also awarded life terms in jail.

The Rajbhar trio, working for an art fabricator named Vidyadhar Rajbhar, were found guilty and convicted for committing the actual crime of the murder and destruction of evidence in the double-murder of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Haresh Bhambhani.

The prosecution, led by special public prosecutor Vaibhav Bagade, had sought death penalty for Upadhyay and the Rajbhar trio for the double-murder as it was ‘barbaric’ and falling in the 'rarest of rare' category.

Upadhyay’s lawyer, Raja Thakare, strongly argued against death penalty and pointed out that not a single circumstance pertaining to the offender was placed before the court, adding that Bhambhani’s death could not be attributed to his client (Upadhyay) who was found guilty of abetment to the crime and not for having participated in the double-murder.

On December 11, 2015, Hema and Bhambhani were smothered to death at her studio in Kandivali West by the convicted Rajbhars. Their bodies were packed in brownish boxes and then dumped into a ditch in the vicinity.

The bodies hidden in the floating boxes in the gutter waters were discovered after four days on December 15, sending shockwaves in the city’s artworld.

After a bout of prompt police investigations given the celeb status of the victim and the furore it created, Upadhyay was arrested 10 days after the double-murder.

He remained in jail till he was granted bail by the Supreme Court in September 2021.

The four were found guilty last Friday by the sessions court and Upadhyay has now been taken into custody again following the life sentence.

A painter and sculptor hailing from Rajasthan, Upadhyay had a love-marriage with Gujarat-based artist and sculptor Hema Hirani (43) in 1998, but after some 16 years of marriage, they divorced in 2014.

After their divorce, Upadhyay settled in Delhi while Hema continued staying in Mumbai till her murder a year later.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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