Hema Upadhyay
The Mumbai Police is questioning artists who could have helped Vidyadhar Rajbhar, the main accused. Picture: Installation artist Hema UpadhyayWikimedia Commons/Art fundamental

To find any lead on the location of Vidyadhar Rajbhar, the main accused in the Hema Upadhyay-Harish Bhambhani murder case, the police have started questioning other artists who had employed his services.

The Mumbai Police believe that Vidyadhar, who was a fabrication artist, may have contacted other artists for financial assistance during the initial days of the murder investigation to flee the city.

Vidyadhar had followed his father's footsteps, who was a well-known artist's assistant. Artists in the city had employed his services because of his father. Many had assisted him financially by loaning him money. Hema's husband Chintan Upadhyay had given him Rs 6 lakh. 

"We are getting in touch with several artists based all over Maharashtra as well as people working in the same field as Vidyadhar. We are also talking to some artists outside Maharashtra. This would give us a clearer idea of his movements immediately after he fled the city, and could help identify the places where he might have gone from there," a police officer told The Hindu.

"It is also possible that Vidyadhar might manage to convince at least one or two people that he is innocent and try to borrow money or otherwise take some help from them. Hence, we are reaching out to all the people that he is likely to contact, based on the interrogation of the arrested accused and inquiries with Vidyadhar's family and friends. We are requesting them to let us know immediately in case Vidyadhar contacts them or if they hear about him," the officer added.

It has been learnt that Vidyadhar left only with a few thousand rupees and is bound to contact someone. His phone has been switched off and he's using his wife's phone intermittently. Tracking his phone has not helped in zeroing in on his whereabouts yet. However, the police believe that he would contact his family soon as his wife had given birth to a child only two months ago.

He and his four employees had allegedly murdered the award-winning artist and her lawyer on 11 December.

Chintan Upadhyay -- an artist himself -- has been taken into custody till 1 January for questioning regarding his role as the plotter of the murders. The couple had separated. Hema had hired Bhambhani in 2010, when she had filed a harassment charge against her husband.