P Rajagopal, the founder of the Saravana Bhavan restaurant chain, moved the Supreme Court on Monday to delay the beginning of his life sentence in a murder case, AFP reported. Rajagopal, who was supposed to surrender before a court on Sunday, did not turn up citing ill health.
Rajagopal was first sentenced to 10 years in jail by a trial court in 2004. The Madras High Court in 2009 sentenced Rajagopal and five others – his manager Daniel, Karmegam, Jahir Hussain, Kasi alias Kasi Viswanathan and Patturajan – to life imprisonment for the murder of Prince Santhakumar, according to The Hindu. Three other convicts – Tamilselvan, Sethu and Muruganandham – were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, while Balu and Janardhanan got two years’ imprisonment.
Santhakumar was the husband of the daughter of a Saravana Bhavan employee, who Rajagopal wanted to marry. The prosecution argued that Rajagopal plotted Santhakumar’s murder as the woman refused to marry him.
In March, the Supreme Court upheld the order of the Madras High Court and gave the 11 convicts time till July 7 to surrender before a trial court. Nine of them surrendered before a sessions court on the Madras High Court premises in Chennai on Monday, following which they were sent to the Central Prison.
The counsel for prosecution said that Rajagopal and Janardhanan moved the Supreme Court seeking more time to surrender on health grounds.