72-year-old P Rajagopal, the owner of Saravana Bhawan restaurant chain, died earlier today in Chennai in a private hospital.
Rajagopal built a business empire of vegetarian restaurants chain after starting the first Saravana Bhavan in KK nagar in 1981. Saravana Bhavan restaurants are now spread in over 15 countries across the world, including Malaysia and Singapore.
Contrary to the delectable menu, Rajagopal has had a horrendous past for commuting the abduction and murder of a man named Prince Santhakumar in 2001. Rajagopal was told to marry a woman named Jeevajyothi but she had chosen to marry Santhakumar instead. After month of harassing the couple, Rajagopal abducted Santhakumar and murdered him.
He was initially convicted to 10 years rigorous imprisonment but when Rajagopal appealed against the decision of the sessions court in the Madras high court, his punishment was revised to life imprisonment. He challenged the sentence once again, but all was in vain.
The court had given him time till 7 July to surrender and he seemed for an extension for health reasons. The court refused an extension and Rajagopal was forced to arriveto the court complex in an ambulance from Vijaya Hospital and was taken in a stretcher to the court. He surrendered for the murder case but was soon admitted to Stanley Medical College hospital on the same day.
Shortly after, the restaurant tycoon died of cardiac failure.