Saravana Bhavan owner Rajagopal surrenders after SC refuses relief

P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan, Supreme Court, Madras High Court, Murder, Surrender, Convict
In March this year, the Supreme Court upheld the life imprisonment for Rajagopal, who now looks at a prison term for the rest of his life (File Photo)

P Rajagopal, owner of Saravana Bhavan, the South Indian chain of restaurants, surrendered before the IV Additional Sessions Court on Madras High Court premises on Tuesday (July 9), after the Supreme Court turned down his request to extend the time for surrender.

On March 29, the apex court upheld the life imprisonment for Rajagopal and nine other in connection with the Prince Santhakumar murder case. The court had asked Rajagopal to surrender before it within a period of 100 days or before July 7. Rajagopal who missed the deadline, had filed a petition before the Supreme Court, asking for an extension to surrender, citing health reasons. He had requested that his hospitalization be considered a jail term. Sources, however, say Rajagopal got himself admitted to a hospital only on July 4 as the date of the surrender approached, and had been at his house in Sundarapandian Road in Ashok Nagar before that.

Justice NV Raman who heard his petition on Tuesday, refused to give him relief, asking why the petitioner hadn’t indicated his health condition during the hearing of the appeal.  “If he was so ill, why didn’t he indicate the same even for a day during the hearing of the appeal,” the judge asked.

He asked Rajagopal’s lawyer as to why he didn’t approach the court anytime between the 100 days and came only after the deadline for surrender got over. The bench asked Rajagopal to surrender before the court with immediate effect.

The nine other accused in the Santhakumar murder case surrendered before the IV Additional Sessions Court on Monday.

Rajagopal has been convicted of killing Santhakumar, husband of one Jeevajyothi, whom he wanted to marry, in 2001. He allegedly wanted to marry Jeevajyothi based on his astrologer’s advice. In 2004, he was convicted by a trial court and was sentenced to undergo 10 years of imprisonment. In 2009, acting on an appeal of the state government, the Madras High Court, sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment. After spending months in jail, Rajagopal came out of prison on bail and went for a fresh appeal before the Supreme Court.

In March, the Supreme Court upheld the life imprisonment for Rajagopal, who now looks at a prison term for the rest of his life.