SC rejects Saravana Bhavan owner’s plea seeking delay in life sentence

SC rejects Saravana Bhavan owner’s plea seeking delay in life sentence

S Murari

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Saravana Bhavan hotel chain owner  P Rajagopal to give time to surrender to police to serve the life term given to him in a murder case

The Supreme Court division bench also rejected the plea made by Rajagopal’s counsel Kapil Sibal  that he be allowed to serve his term in a hospital instead of in jail as he was  80 plus and in poor health. The bench noted that during none of the prolonged hearing in the case did Rajagopal cite health issues. It directed him to surrender before the court in Chennai to serve his term.

Rajagopal was convicted for the murder of a youth married to a girl he was besotted with in what police called a crime of passion in October 2001. A sessions court in 2004 sentenced Rajagopal to  ten years Ri for the murder Prince Santhakumar, husband of 20-year-old  Jeevajothi . The motive was that Jeevajothi resisted Rajagopal’s advances.

The Madras High Court awarded life term to Rajagopal and five of his aides and  gave terms ranging from two to three years for four others, holding all guilty of abduction and murder of Prince Santhakumar in Kodaikanal in 2001.

Early this year, the Supreme Court upheld the sentence given to Rajagopal and others.While the others surrendered in a court in Chennai before the July 7 deadline, Rajagopal got himself admitted to hospital and his counsel Kapil Sibal moved the apex court to exempt him  from serving time in jail on medical grounds.

Now that the apex court has rejected it, Rajagopal is expected to go to jail in a day or two.