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A Man Has Confessed to the Double Murder of a Well-Known Indian Artist and Her Lawyer

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A man in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh reportedly confessed Tuesday to the gruesome double murder of a prominent artist and her attorney, telling police he did it on the orders of his employer.

Shivkumar Rajbhar said he killed Hema Upadhyay and lawyer Harish Bhambhani, with the aid of four accomplices, after Upadhyay failed to pay for a metal statue made for her, the Indian Express newspaper reported.

The statue was created by Rajbhar’s boss Vidyadhar, a metalworker and artist who has since gone missing. Three others, as well as a lorry driver who helped dispose of the bodies, have been arrested. Police are also investigating Upadhyay’s ex-husband, Chintan Upadhyay, who reportedly made several calls to Vidyadhar a fortnight ago and had worked with him closely.

The bodies of Upadhyay and Bhambhani — who had represented her in a 2013 harassment case against her ex-husband — were found in a drain in Mumbai over the weekend, and an autopsy revealed that they had both been bludgeoned with blunt objects.

Upadhyay, 42, was a prominent face in Mumbai’s art scene and was described by those who knew her as a “bold and experimental” artist with a “real, warm and cheerful” personality.

[Indian Express]

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Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com