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SC Dismisses 'Saravana Bhavan' Founder Rajagopal's Plea To Extend Time To Surrender In Murder Case

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
9 July 2019 5:56 AM GMT
SC Dismisses Saravana Bhavan Founder Rajagopals Plea To Extend Time To Surrender In Murder Case
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of P Rajagopal, the founder of 'Saravan Bhavan' chain of restaurants, to extend time on health reasons to surrender to serve sentence in a murder case.On March 29, a bench of Justices Ramana, Shantanagoudar and Indira Banerjee had dismissed a batch of appeals filed against the 2009 judgment of Madras High Court convicting Rajagopal and his aides...

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of P Rajagopal, the founder of 'Saravan Bhavan' chain of restaurants, to extend time on health reasons to surrender to serve sentence in a murder case.

On March 29, a bench of Justices Ramana, Shantanagoudar and Indira Banerjee had dismissed a batch of appeals filed against the 2009 judgment of Madras High Court convicting Rajagopal and his aides for murder of Santhakumar, an employee of the restaurant, in 2001. Rajagopal, who was out on bail then, was given time by the Court till July 7 to surrender.

As the deadline was nearing, Rajagopal got himself admitted in a hospital last Thursday, and filed application to extend time for surrendering. With the apex court rejecting his plea, he will have to surrender immediately.

The crime was committed with the motive of Rajagopal to take Jeevajothi, the wife of deceased Santhakumar, as his third wife. This was based on an astrologer's advice that marrying Jeevajothi will make his business prosper.

The trial court had sentenced Rajagopal to ten years imprisonment under Section 304, Part I IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) in 2004, which was enhanced to life imprisonment under Section 302 IPC(murder) by Madras HC.

'Second FIR Not Barred Merely Because Motive In Both Offences Are The Same'; SC Upholds Life Sentence Of Saravana Bhavan Founder For Murder [Read Judgment]

The case was resting entirely on circumstantial evidence. The prosecution mainly relied upon three circumstances to prove the guilt of the accused - motive, the last seen circumstance and the recovery of the dead body at the instance of one of the accused Daniel, a mercenary hired by Rajagopal.

The SC bench independently evaluated the evidence to "satisfy its conscience" and held that the incriminating circumstances were well established. The consistent testimonies of Jeevajothi and her family members established the motive of the crime. Their testimonies also revealed that the deceased was seen last in the company of the accused. The dead body was recovered based on the confession by one of the accused. Also, the personal belongings of the victim such as gold chain, wallet etc. were recovered from the accused persons.

The Court termed the testimonies of prosecution witnesses 'overwhelming, steadfast, cogent, homogeneous, consistent and reliable'. It noted that the accused had not offered any explanation to rebut the strong evidence placed against them.

 

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