Saravana Bhavan owner sent to life imprisonment for murdering employee to marry his wife
Saturday 30 March 2019 7:56 AM UTC
LONDON March 30: P Rajagopal, 71, the owner of Saravana Bhavan chain of hotels, has been sentence to life imprisonment for murdering his employee, reports from Indian and world media said.
Saravana Bhavan, founded in Tamil Nadu, is one of the largest South Indian vegetarian restaurant chain with locations across India and all over the world including the United Kingdom.
Reports from India say that in the year 2001, Rajagopal murdered his employee Shantakumar, husband of Jeevajyothi, with whom Rajagopal had an obsession with and desperate to marry and make her his third wife. Rajagopal, who had two wives at the time, wanted Jeevanjothi to become his third, Hindustan Times reported.
Rajagopal wanted to marry Santakumar’s wife Jeevajyothi, daughter of Ramaswamy, who was an employee of Saravana Bhavan. However, Jeevajyothi was not interested to marry Rajagopal, reports Economic Times.
On October 1, 2001, the couple filed a complaint with the local police saying they were abducted by Rajagopal’s gang and intimidated. The same month, Shantakumar was kidnapped from Chennai and taken to Kodaikanal. He was murdered the same day. Shantakumar’s body was found by officials from the Forest Department inside the Tiger Chola forests. According to postmortem reports, he had been strangulated.
The owner was once again embroiled in scandal in 2003 for attempting to bribe the woman and intimidating her family, which included assaulting her brother, BBC reported.
A local court first convicted Rajagopal in 2004 and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. This was increased to life in prison by the Madras high court in Chennai.
While hearing an appeal against the verdict in 2009, the Supreme Court granted bail to Rajagopal after his lawyer argued that he needed medical treatment. At that point, he had served only 11 months of his sentence.
The Supreme Court ruling on Friday means that he will be headed back to jail.
P Rajagopal, currently out on bail, which was granted to him by the Supreme Court in 2009 on health grounds, has been directed by the court to surrender by July 7. – Agencies
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