Hema Upadhyay: HC tells prosecution to complete trial

Hema Upadhyay case: HC tells prosecution to complete trial

The Bombay High Court on Friday said it was giving the prosecution "last chance" to complete expeditiously the trial in the killing of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Haresh Bhambani.

Hema Upadhyay's estranged artist husband Chintan Upadhyay has been arrested in the case along with three others.

Justice Sadhana Jadhav was on Friday hearing a bail plea filed by Chintan claiming that despite an assurance given to the Supreme Court on February 2019 by the prosecution that trial in the case would be completed within nine months from framing of charges, the trial is yet to be completed.

Chintan's counsel Raja Thakare told HC the trial was moving at snail's pace and his client was languishing in jail for the past four years.

"He is not a hardened criminal or a menace to society. He is an artist of international acclaim," Thakare said.

The court said it cannot be oblivious to the fact that the accused has a right to expeditious trial.

"The prosecution is given a last chance to complete trial expeditiously. This court is accepting the assurance given by the prosecution that the trial shall be completed within six months," the court said, and posted the bail plea for further hearing after four weeks.

Mumbai-based artist Hema and Bhambani were killed on December 11, 2016 and their bodies disposed of in cardboard boxes that were thrown into a ditch in suburban Kandivali.

Prime accused Vidyadhar Rajbhar has been absconding since then, while Chintan was arrested soon after on suspicion of being the alleged mastermind behind the conspiracy to eliminate his estranged wife.

Apart from Chintan, others arrested include Pradeep Rajbhar, Azaad Rajbhar and Shivkumar Rajbhar.

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