Saravana Bhavan chain of hotels owner P Rajagopal died in a private hospital at Vadapalani in Chennai on Thursday, days after he surrendered to serve a life term for the murder of the husband of a woman he wanted to take as his third wife. He was 82.
Rajagopal was shifted from Government Stanley Medical College Hospital to Vijaya Hospital at Vadapalani on Wednesday after the Madras High Court allowed the request made by his son Savaranan in this regard. The court allowed the plea after Saravanan disclosed that Rajagopal, who surrendered before a judicial magistrate on July 9 and was lodged in Puzhal prison, suffered a heart on July 13 and was on ventilator support.
Rajagopal who was convicted along with nine others, was sentenced to ten years jail by a trial court in 2004 for the murder of Prince Santhakumar, husband of Jeevajothi in 2001. Jeevajothi, daughter of a hotel employee, married Santhakumar to resist Rajagopal’s advances.
The Madras High Court enhanced the sentence to life in 2008 which the Supreme Court confirmed in March this year. The apex court earlier this month rejected Rajagopal’s request that he be allowed to serve the term in hospital till his health improved and directed him to surrender.
Thereupon, Rajagopal surrendered before a judicial magistrate in Chennai on July 9. He was brought to court in a wheelchair and later on put on ventilator support. The judge lodged him in Puzhal jail. However prison doctors shifted him to Government hospital.
While allowing son Saravanan’s plea of shifting Rajagopal to a private hospital, the high court cautioned that it should be done at his own risk as he was just recovering from a heart attack and was still critical.
Rajagopal died on Thursday morning, a day after he was admitted to Vijaya Hospitals in Vadapalani, Rajagopal’s native place where he started his life as a grocer 50 years ago.