- P Rajagopal has been ordered by Supreme Court to surrender by July 7
- Top court upheld his conviction and life sentence for killing an employee
- Rajagopal plotted the Saravana Bhavan employee's murder to marry his wife
The owner of Saravana Bhavan chain of hotels, P Rajagopal, was ordered by the Supreme Court to surrender. The top court today upheld the conviction and life sentence of Rajagopal for the murder of an employee of Saravana Bhavan, who was working with the hotel group, in 2001.
Rajagopal, out on bail granted by the Supreme Court in 2009, has to surrender by July 7.
Rajagopal had challenged the Madras High Court verdict, sentencing him to life for murdering an employee, Santhakumar. He had plotted the murder of Santhakumar, to marry his wife, the prosecution had argued.
The Saravana Bhavan employee's body was found at Perumalmalai in the Kodaikanal forests.
The case goes back to the 90s, when Rajagopal wanted to marry Jeevajothi, the daughter of an assistant manager at Saravana Bhavan's Chennai branch. Rajagopal, at that time already had two wives and Jeevajothi had objected to the marriage.
She later married Shantakumar in 1999. The prosecution told the court that Rajagopal threatened the couple to call off the marriage. In 2001, Jeevajothi and Shantakumar filed a complaint with the police, alleging that they were being threatened by Rajagopal and his aides. Days after the couple went to the police, Shanthakumar was kidnapped and killed.
Saravana Bhavan, a well-known restaurant chain, has outlets in 20 countries including the US, the UK, France and Australia. There are 25 restaurants in India including in Delhi.