P Rajagopal, the owner of the Saravana Bhavan chain of restaurants, failed to surrender before the police on Sunday. He was sentenced to life by the Supreme Court for the abduction and murder of a man and the court had given him time till July 7 to surrender to the police.
According to reports, Rajagopal got himself admitted in a hospital on Thursday, days before he had to turn himself in to the police. He has filed a petition in the apex court seeking an extension to the deadline given to him to surrender, over his health issues. The petition is lined up to be heard on Monday.
Rajagopal was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Madras High Court in 2009 for hiring henchmen to abduct and kill a man named Prince Santhakumar in 2001. Prince Santhakumar was married to a woman named Jeevajyothi, the daughter of one of the employees of Rajagopal. Rajagopal wanted to marry Jeevajyothi as his third wife based on the advice of an astrologer.
He pursued Jeevajyothi despite her resistance and when she threatened to go to the police, he told her that he would manage the police with money. He had also told Santhakumar about his intention to marry his wife Jeevajyothi, after which the couple planned to move out of Chennai. Rajagopal and his henchmen had assaulted the couple continuously since then.
In October 2001, Jeevajyothi, Santhakumar and her family were taken to Tiruchedur, when Santhakumar was separated from the family. He was murdered and his body was found in Kodaikkanal. In 2004, a sessions court found Rajagopal guilty of the crime and sentenced him to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. Rajagopal went on to challenge this verdict in the Madras High court which, in 2009, enhanced the punishment to life imprisonment. This verdict was also appealed against by Rajagopal in the apex court, which upheld it in March 2019.