'Dosa King' dead: Indian restaurant icon and convicted murderer P. Rajagopal dies aged 71

P. Rajagopal, founder of the Saravana Bhavan food chain, on a menu at one of the popular restaurants in Chennai.

(CNN)An Indian restaurant icon known as the "Dosa King," who was jailed last week for the murder of a love interest's husband, died from a heart attack Thursday, his lawyer said.

P. Rajagopal was the founder of the popular Indian restaurant chain Saravana Bhavan, which he began in 1981 and now has more than 80 locations across the world.
He was also a convicted murderer who was found guilty in 2004 of ordering the killing of the husband of a woman he wanted to marry.
Rajagopal finally began to serve his life sentence on July 9, 15 years after he was convicted, but suffered a heart attack one week later.
    According to his lawyer, he was admitted to a local hospital by order of the Madras High Court but died on Thursday. He was 71 years old.
    People outside a restaurant of the popular Saravana Bhavan food chain in Chennai in June 2019.
    Prior to his incarceration, Rajagopal's lawyers had said that their client was in poor health.
    The murder case against the restauranteur began in 2001, when according to court documents, Rajagopal had unsuccessfully tried to persuade the married 21-year-old daughter of an employee to become his third wife.
    He lavished the woman with expensive gifts and told her false stories about her husband, including that he had HIV. In September 2001, the couple decided to move house to get away from the restaurant mogul. Before they could leave, the couple were abducted and attacked by Rajagopal and a group of others.
    The couple survived, but later that year the restaurateur hired a hit man to kill the husband, whose body was found in a forest in Tamil Nadu, the court heard. He is believed to have been strangled to death.
      Rajagopal was sentenced to 10 years in jail for the murder in 2004. In 2009, Rajagopal unsuccessfully appealed his conviction, only to have his punishment extended to a life sentence.
      But despite the violent nature of the crime, a protracted appeals process saw the restaurant mogul avoid serving his sentence until last week.