- The police may have almost solved the murder of artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Mumbai in under a month, but that isn\'t the case with many criminal cases this year.
- From the sensational Sheena Bora case to the Kalburgi murder, 2015 has had more than its share of shocking crimes.
- We bring you five criminal cases that shocked the country this year. Read on!
From passion and revenge to greed and just because, 2015 saw crimes like never before. Some of the biggest criminal cases resurfaced this year with shocking developments, and a few others were committed with such brutality that they shook the country's very soul.
Here's a recap of crimes that made headlines in 2015.
A costly affair
On 24 April 2012, 24-year-old Sheena Bora was murdered. However, the crime did not come to light until August 2015, when Indrani Mukerjea, wife of former STAR India CEO Peter Mukerjea was arrested on the 25th.
With elements of money, fame, love, revenge, and possible incest, the case has been one of the most sensational ones this year. It was found that Sheena, who Indrani introduced as her sister, was actually her daughter with Siddhartha Das. While some reports suggest he was her first husband, others suggest that it was a live-in relationship. He was hunted down by the media and appeared in interviews, helmet laden, with only his eyes visible.
The case kept everyone on tenterhooks with Mikhail Bora, Sheena's brother who promised "evidence" against Indrani that never came to light; and Peter Mukerjea who swore on television that he had no idea about the real relationship between his wife and Sheena. To add to the mix, Peter's son from his first marriage, Rahul Mukerjea, also added grist to the rumour mills with his relationship with Sheena.
All the while the case was made against Indrani, but the biggest plot twist was Peter Mukherjea being questioned by the CBI on 19 November.
The killer scam
The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board scam, better known as Vyapam, involves malpractices like leaking of papers and impersonation of candidates appearing for exams under the Board. While it dates back to late 1990s, this year it drew into controversy Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and became a huge roadblock for the Centre in the Monsoon session of the Parliament.
The most compelling part of the scandal was the mysterious deaths of people associated with it. After Indore-based government doctor Anand Rai turned whistleblower and filed a PIL in 2009, the state government ordered a probe in 2013.
This year, the scam resurfaced in June after a few people associated with it died under mysterious circumstances. According to a report, the Madhya Pradesh government has acknowledged 34 deaths in the case so far. However, other reports have pegged the number of deaths at well over 40.
No penny for thoughts
On February 16 this year, Govind Pansare and his wife were shot by unknown assailants on a motorbike in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. While his wife survived, Pansare succumbed to his injuries on 20 February.
The CPI leader authored Shivaji Kaun Hota, a biography on Shivaji, who is hailed by right-wing outfits across Maharashtra as an icon. It is the book apparently which got him into trouble along with his activism for inter-caste marriages and the anti-superstition law.
In a similar incident on August 30, rationalist thinker MM Kalburgi was shot by assailants on a motorbike pretending to be students.
The Sahitya Akademi award winner was known for his progressive views on Karnataka's revered Lingayat community, which did not go down well with many. He also contested the sanctity of the Hindu practice of idol worship in June 2014, which not only angered right-wing groups like the VHP but also resulted in a formal complaint for hurting religious sentiments, against him.
These murders garnered media attention due to their similarity with Narendra Dabholkar's death in 2013. He was also a rationalist thinker shot by unknown men on a bike.
Kalburgi's murder was also one of the developments that sparked the controversial 'award vapasi' as a protest against growing intolerance and the Sahitya Akademi's silence on the issue.
A gory revenge?
The recent Hema Upadhyay murder in Mumbai has shocked everyone by its graphic brutality. On 12 December, a ragpicker stumbled upon two cardboard boxes in a drain in Kandivali. The boxes contained the mutilated bodies of a man and woman, now identified as artist Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani.
After the plastic wrapped boxes were fished from the drain, the police traced the movement of the deceased through their phone records, which lead them to Sadhu Rajbhar, a main accused in the case. He was later arrested in Mumbai and confessed to the crime.
It is believed that the motive behind the murder was a financial dispute worth Rs 5 lakh, between one Gotu and Hema. Gotu is the owner of the warehouse where Hema stored her artwork. Sadhu and three others arrested in the case worked at the warehouse.
If reports are to be believed, Gotu arranged a meeting with Upadhyay at his warehouse in Andheri on the pretext of settling the payment issue. However, once the artist arrived, he and around eight of his employees killed her and her lawyer, disposing off the bodies into boxes.
In the latest development to the case, Hema's estranged ex-husband Chintan Upadhyay has been arrested by the Mumbai police around 8.00 am today.
A love affair gone terribly wrong
On 3 June 2013, Rabiya Khan came home around 11.45 pm to find her daughter hanging from the ceiling. At the time Rabiya cried murder, blaming Jiah's boyfriend Suraj Pancholi. However, it was popularly deemed that Jiah took her own life, though yes her relationship with Pancholi was a troubled one.
A twist in the tale occurred though when the CBI filed a supplementary chargesheet at a Mumbai sessions court on 11 December which not only held Pancholi guilty for abetting suicide but also revealed disturbing facts about Jiah's abortion including how Pancholi had to physically extricate the fetus.
The revelation created shockwaves, despite the court reprimanding the CBI for leaking the details to the media even before it had taken cognizance of the document.