Refusing to allow anymore extensions, the Supreme Court ordered the owner of Saravana Bhavan hotels, P Rajagopal, to surrender immediately after his life sentence was upheld by the court. He was given a deadline to surrender before the police or the court on Sunday; however, he failed to do so.
Rajagopal, who had filed a petition on Monday, had sought more time to surrender. The apex court reportedly slammed his request and asked why he did not indicate his illness all these days and instead filed a petition for an extension at the last minute. The petition cited health issues as the reason for seeking the extension in the deadline.
In March, the Supreme Court had upheld the verdict of the Madras High Court, sentencing Rajagopal to life imprisonment for the abduction and murder of Prince Santhakumar. The case dates back to 2001 when Rajagopalâ€™s henchmen had kidnapped Santhakumar when he, along with his wife Jeevajyothi and her family, were on their way to Tiruchendur in Tamil Nadu. His body was later found in Kodaikkanal.
Jeevajyothi was the daughter of Rajagopalâ€™s employee. Rajagopal had earlier tried to pursue Jeevajyothi after an astrologer advised him to marry her and take her as his third wife. She had fallen in love with Santhakumar and had married him. Rajagopal continued to pursue her even after her wedding despite her resistance. When she threatened to approach the police for help, Rajagopal had told her that he would use his â€˜money powerâ€™ and had continued to harass the couple.
In 2004, a Sessions Court found Rajagopal guilty of the crime and sentenced him to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. Rajagopal challenged this verdict in the Madras High Court, which enhanced the punishment to life imprisonment. He then appealed in Supreme Court, which upheld the verdict of the High Court in March 2019 and granted 100 days to Rajagopal to surrender. The deadline ended on Sunday, July 7. However, Rajagopal cited health issues and got himself admitted in the hospital on July 4 and did not surrender on the allocated date.