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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Saravana Bhavan founder P Rajagopal’s health deteriorating: Doctors

Rajagopal was admitted to the Stanley Government Medical College Hospital soon after he surrendered before a local court in Chennai on July 9. He had arrived in the court in an ambulance to start his sentence.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2019 11:05 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
The founder of South Indian food chain 'Saravana Bhavan' P Rajagopal arrives to surrender before a sessions court to serve a life term, in Chennai, Tuesday, July 9, 2019.
The founder of South Indian food chain 'Saravana Bhavan' P Rajagopal arrives to surrender before a sessions court to serve a life term, in Chennai, Tuesday, July 9, 2019.(PTI photo)
         

The health of P Rajagopal, the 72-year-old founder of Saravana Bhavan global chain of restaurants who is serving a jail term for the murder of his employee, is becoming worse, doctors treating him at a government-run hospital in Chennai have said.

Rajagopal was admitted to the Stanley Government Medical College Hospital soon after he surrendered before a local court in Chennai on July 9. He had arrived in the court in an ambulance to start his sentence.

“Rajagopal has diabetes, blood-pressure and kidney-related issues. Therefore, his health is poor now. We are closely monitoring him,” a senior doctor with Stanley Government Medical College Hospital said on Sunday.

The Supreme Court had asked Rajagopal to surrender after he had sought more time citing medical grounds. Rajagopal was convicted and sentenced to life term for the murder of his employee.

Rajagopal was first found guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years in 2004. The judge had found him guilty of ordering the abduction and murder of his employee three years earlier to be able to marry his widow.

He had appealed against the verdict in the high court which concluded in 2009 that he had been sentenced too lightly and ordered him to serve a life term in jail. He appealed again, this time to the Supreme Court.

The top court in March this year upheld the life term for the businessman, who had started out as an employee at a utensils store before moving on to open a grocery store. He later went on to become the owner of a large restaurant chain.

Also read | Spectacular fall of India’s ‘dosa king’: Saravana Bhavan’s P Rajagopal due for life sentence

Rajagopal was given 100 days to surrender by the top court. The deadline expired on 7 July.

The murder case dates back to 2001 when Rajagopal, who has been known to be dressed in white with a strip of sandalwood paste on his forehead, ordered the abduction and murder of his employee Prince Shantakumar. The body was buried in the municipal burial grounds of Kodaikanal Hills.

An astrologer had recommended that he take Jeevajyothi – an employee’s daughter who had married Shantakumar - as his wife.

Rajagopal had made repeated attempts to court Jeevajyothi and didn’t stop even after she married. When her husband was killed, Jeevajyothi raised a stink and accused Rajagopal of the murder. A probe led the police to the burial site and the body was exhumed. The case was tried by a fast track court.

Rajagopal, who belongs to Punnaiyidi village in Thoothukkudi district, had started his career as a salesman in an ever-silver mart at Chennai. He later opened the vegetarian restaurant which has hundreds of branches in India and abroad.

First Published: Jul 15, 2019 11:05 IST

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