18/07/2019 11:17 AM IST | Updated 18/07/2019 11:43 AM IST

Saravana Bhavan Founder P Rajagopal Dies Days After Surrendering To Serve Life Term For Murder

Rajagopal had been sentenced to life for murdering an employee in October 2001 to marry his wife.

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P Rajagopal, founder of popular South Indian food chain Saravana Bhavan, died in a Chennai hospital on Thursday, days after he had surrendered to serve life term for murder, reports said.

Rajagopal, 72, was under treatment at Chennai’s Vijaya Hospital. He had suffered a heart attack on 15 July and been temporarily put on ventilator support, according to The NewsMinute.

The Madras High Court had on 16 July permitted Rajagopal, who has been admitted to a government hospital in Chennai, to shift to a private facility for further treatment.

While upholding the life sentence awarded to Rajagopal for murdering an employee in October 2001 to marry his wife, the Supreme Court had ordered him to surrender in the trial court on 7 July. He had surrendered on 9 July along with another accused after the Supreme Court rejected his plea seeking more time on grounds of ill-health.

Passing an interim order on a petition filed by Rajagopal’s son, a bench comprising justices M M Sundresh and M Nirmal Kumar directed the state government and the prison authorities to transfer the hotelier from the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital to the Vijaya Hospital in Chennai.

“Considering the medical reports and the condition of the detenu, we are inclined to permit the transfer,” the bench said.

The petitioner would have to bear the cost of treatment, the bench said, adding the transfer and treatment would be subject to the compliance of conditions as per the prison manual.

Referring to a report filed by authorities of Stanley hospital that Rajagopal had already suffered two episodes of cardiac arrest and shifting him was risky, the court said the transfer and treatment were at the risk of the petitioner and authorities cannot be held responsible.

In his petition, Rajagopal’s son claimed his father’s condition worsened after he was admitted to Stanley hospital, following his surrender in a sessions court.

Saravana Bhavan had been started by Rajagopal in Chennai’s KK Nagar in 1981, TNM reports. Over the years, the vegetarian restaurant chain expanded to over 15 countries across the world. 

(With PTI inputs)