A file photo of the Supreme Court in New Delhi Image Credit: AP

The highest court in India upheld the life imprisonment of P. Rajagopal, the owner of South Indian hotel chain Saravana Bhavan, for murdering employee, Prince Shantakumar, in October 2001 to marry his wife on the advice of an astrologer

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana gave Rajagopal time till July 7 to surrender.

The top court's decision comes on the Madras High Court order upholding his life imprisonment.

The High Court had enhanced the 10 year sentence given by a trial court.

When contacted, Rajagopal's son P.R. Shivakumar told IANS: "I just got an SMS about the verdict. I have to get more details."

The hugely popular Saravana Bhavan hotel chain has outlets within and outside India and is now managed by Shivakumar.

Rajagopal was arrested on charges of murdering his employee, Prince Shantakumar, so as to marry his wife.

According to reports Rajagopal hired men to abduct and murder Prince Santhakumar, who was married to Jeevajyothi, the daughter of one of his employees.

Rajagopal already had two wives at the time of the incident but, wanted to marry 20-year-old Jeevajyothi, who had refused his moves.