Saravana Bhavan founder P Rajagopal dies at 72 in Chennai

Chennai: Saravana Bhavan owner P Rajagopal, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in a murder case, died at a private hospital on Thursday, a day after he was put on ventilator support following a heart attack.

Rajagopal, who shifted to a private hospital in the city from a government hospital following a court direction on Tuesday, died around 10 am on Thursday, news agency PTI quoted a source close to him as saying.

In 2004, Rajagopal was convicted in the kidnapping and murder of an employee, Prince Santhakumar. A local court had sentenced Rajagopal and eight others to 10 years in prison. Five years later, the Madras High Court confirmed the verdict and increased the sentence to life in prison, a punishment then upheld by the Supreme Court in March.

Dubbed the “Dosa king”, Rajagopal had been granted bail by the Supreme Court in 2009 but had to surrender by July 7.

The hotelier had surrendered along with another accused to serve life term after the Supreme Court rejected his plea seeking more time on grounds of ill-health.

Born to an onion seller in Tuticorin, Rajagopal began his career as a grocer in Chennai. “Saravana Bhavan” grew into a chain of restaurants with outlets in 20 countries including the US, the UK, France and Australia.


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