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

The Mumbai Police said on Sunday they recovered the bodies of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harsh Bhambani from a drain on Saturday. Four people have been detained in connection with the murders, according to CNN IBN report.

"We have identified the deceased woman as Hema Upadhyay, whose husband Chintan is also an artist, and the man as advocate Harish Bhambani," The Hindu quoted Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IX) Vikram Deshmane as saying.

The bodies in undergarments were wrapped in plastic, packed inside card boxes and thrown into a drain in Kandivali. Upadhyay's hands were tied.

Prima facie, it appears that Upadhyay and Bhambani were strangulated, Hindustan Times reported.

"The bodies were tied and packed, sewed in a box. The bodies have been sent for autopsy," said DCP (Detection), Crime Branch, Dhananjay Kulkarni.

The incident came to light on Saturday when a sweeper informed the police about the two boxes.

"The police received a call about two suspicious boxes in the drain after a sweeper noticed them. Autopsy reports will reveal the cause of death and will tell us if there are any injury marks on them," an officer at Kandivli police station said.

Both are suspected to have been killed a couple of days ago as Upadhyay's domestic help Hemant Mandal had filed a missing person's complaint on Friday after she did not return home at night. 

"She had called around 6:30 pm on Friday and asked me to have dinner, and said she would have her dinner outside," Mandal told Hindustan Times.

The family of Bhambhani, 65, had also lodged a missing person's complaint on the same day.

The 42-year-old artist came in contact with Bhambhani when she filed a case against her husband Chintan in 2013 for alleged harassment. She had alleged that Chintan drew "obscene sketches" on the walls of her room. Bhambhani was Upadhyay's lawyer.

Upadhyay was a well-known artist based in Mumbai. She won awards from the Gujarat Lalit Kala Academy and the national Lalit Kala Academy.