Saravana Bhavan Founder Rajagopal Surrenders in Murder Case
Rajagopal was sentenced to life imprisonment by Madras High Court for abducting and murdering Prince Santhakumar in 2001.
Rajagopal was sentenced to life imprisonment by Madras High Court for abducting and murdering Prince Santhakumar in 2001.(Photo: The Quint)

Saravana Bhavan Founder Rajagopal Surrenders in Murder Case

Hours after the Supreme Court rejected his plea, P Rajagopal, the owner of Saravana Bhavan hotels surrendered before the IV Additional Sessions court in Chennai.

In a bid to evade surrender, Rajagopal had gotten himself admitted in a hospital on Thursday. He then approached the Supreme court asking for an extension citing health reasons. But the Supreme Court gave no relief and ordered Rajagopal to surrender immediately.

The man, convicted in a murder case, had no other option but to surrender himself and came to the Chennai court in an ambulance from Vijaya Hospitals in Vadapalani on Tuesday evening. He will be lodged in Puzhal prison.

The Supreme Court had, in March 2019, upheld the life imprisonment sentence earlier awarded to him by the Madras High Court.

Also Read : SC Upholds Conviction and Life Sentence of Saravana Bhavan Founder

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Background of The Case

The case against Rajagopal dates back to 2001 when his henchmen kidnapped and murdered Prince Santhakumar when the latter was on his way to Tiruchendur with his wife Jeevajyothi and her parents.

Santhakumar’s body was found in Kodaikkanal. Rajagopal was interested in marrying Jeevajyothi and take her as his third wife based on the advice of his astrologer. However, Jeevajyothi had spurned his advances and married Santhakumar, whom she had fallen in love with.

Rajagopal continued to pursue her even after her wedding despite her resistance. Though she resisted his advances and threatened to seek help of the police, Rajagopal had told her that he would manage the police with his money power and continued to harass the couple.

In 2004, Rajagopal was found guilty and was sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.

He challenged the verdict in Madras High Court, which enhanced the punishment and sentenced him to life in prison. He appealed against this order in the Supreme Court which, in March 2019, upheld the decision of the High court.

The apex court also granted him time till 7 July to surrender before the police or a court. However, before his deadline on 7 July, he got admitted to a hospital in Chennai citing health reasons and failed to surrender on the deadline.

(This article was first published on The News Minute, and has been republished with their permission).

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