New Delhi: Saravana Bhavan founder P Rajagopal on Tuesday surrendered in Chennai court for serving a life term in a murder case.

Rajagopal was forced to surrender after his plea for a delay in starting his life sentence was rejected by the Supreme Court earlier in the day. Rajagopal has been convicted in a 2001 kidnapping and murder of an employee.

While arriving in the Madras High Court, the 72-year-old entrepreneur had gone in an ambulance with an oxygen mask on his face. A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana had reportedly asked, “If he was so ill, why did he not indicate illness even for one day during hearings of his appeal?”

In 2009, he was granted bail by the apex court but had to surrender by July 7. He moved the Supreme Court again on Monday, claiming he had been hospitalisedand needed more time but the apex court turned down his request.

In 2004, Rajagopal was convicted in the kidnapping and murder of an employee. A local court had sentenced him and eight others involved in the murder of  Santhakumar to ten years in prison. Later, while upholding the verdict, the Madras High Court increased the sentence to life in prison. This sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court this year.

Rajagopal reportedly wanted to marry Santhakumar’s wife Jeevajyothi, who was also the daughter of one of his employees. Reportedly he had been advised to do so by an astrologer.

At the time, Rajagopal had already been married twice and his proposal was turned down by the young woman. Later, she married Santakumar. Rajagopal allegeldy had threatened the couple and asked them to end their marriage.

The couple had complained to the police but soon, Santhakumar went missing and his body was found in the Kodaikanal forests. Saravana Bhavan is a restaurant chain with outlets across the globe apart from the many in India.