A warehouse worker has been arrested in relation to the suspected double murder of a prominent Indian artist and her lawyer, police say.
The bodies of artist Hema Upadhyay and Harish Bhambhani were pulled from a drain in Mumbai on Saturday. Their hands and legs had been bound and their bodies stuffed in boxes wrapped in plastic.
Shivkumar Sadhu Rajbhar, a metal fabricator in a Mumbai warehouse, was detained in Uttar Pradesh state, northern India, Inspector-General Sujit Pandey told CNN.
The suspect told investigators he and four other accomplices killed Upadhyay and Bhambhani, Pandey said.
According to Rajbhar's police statement, Upadhyay was murdered because she had refused to pay around US$7,500 she allegedly owed to his employer, the warehouse owner. The suspect claimed the lawyer was murdered because "he just happened to be present there (at the time)," Pandey said.
Police said Rajbhar was found to be in possession of the victims' credit and debit cards, however they don't know the extent to which he was involved in their deaths.
"What we can say with certainty is that he was associated with the murders, but it would be too early to say how and to what extent until further investigations complete," Pandey said.
Rajbhar's employer is at still at large.
Depiction of life
Upadhyay, 43, specialized in the depiction of life in the metropolis of Mumbai, according to New Delhi's Vadhera Art Gallery. Her artwork centered around migration, dislocation and multi-cultural aspects of India's financial capital, it said in a profile.
Art critic and curator Uma Nair said in a blog post in the Times of India that Upadhyay's work tackled urbanization, migration and landscapes.
"The news of her death and her body wrapped in plastic had a strange macabre surrealism because the murderer knew her language — he/she placed her remains like a dead fish in a dreary landscape of viciousness and hatred. RIP beautiful person," Nair wrote in the blog headlined "Indian contemporary art's genius: Hema Upadhyay."