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Supreme Court upholds life term for Saravana Bhavan owner Rajagopal in murder case

Saravana Bhavan hotels proprietor P. Rajagopal (centre) with his lawyers appearing in a court in Chennai. File photo

Saravana Bhavan hotels proprietor P. Rajagopal (centre) with his lawyers appearing in a court in Chennai. File photo   | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

The owner of the popular chain of restaurants was convicted for the murder of Prince Santhakumar, whose wife he wanted to marry.

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the life imprisonment awarded by the Madras High Court to P. Rajagopal, owner of the popular Sarvana Bhavan chain of restaurants, in the Prince Santhakumar murder case.

A Bench, led by Justice N.V. Ramana, gave him time till July 7 to surrender on medical grounds.

Prince Santhakumar's wife Jeevajothi is the daughter of Ramaswamy, who was an employee of Saravana Bhavan. Rajagopal wanted to marry her but she did not oblige. Hence Rajagopal plotted the murder, according to the prosecution.

The Supreme Court granted bail to him in 2009 on health reasons.

The court also granted bail to Daniel, Karmegam, Hussain alias Zakir Hussain, Kasi alias Kasi Viswanathan and Pattu Rajan. They, according to the prosecution, were hired by Rajagopal to commit the murder.

The body of Santhakumar was found by forest officials at Perumalmalai in the Kodaikanal range in October 2001. It was buried in the Kodaikanal municipal burial ground. Later, the body was identified to be that of Santhakumar and a charge sheet filed for offences under section 302(murder) 364 (abduction) and 201 (destruction of evidence) IPC, following which the alleged conspiracy came to light.

The Madras High Court had convicted Rajagopal under section 302 IPC (punishment for murder) and sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment along with the five others.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 4:31:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-upholds-life-term-for-saravana-bhavan-owner-rajagopal-in-murder-case/article26672385.ece

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