Hotel owner's son held for human trafficking to US

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Chennai, Nov 9 (UNI) The state Crime Branch CID have arrested the son of popular chain of hotels ''Saravana Bhavan'' for his alleged involvement in human trafficking to America.

The arrest followed a complaint from the American Consulate here that the suspect R Shivakumar, was involved in a number of human trafficking cases.

Highly placed police sources said at least four cases of human trafficking had been traced to the accused. ''We do not know how long this racket has been going on and how many people are involved,'' an officer said.

The sources said Shivakumar would be produced before a court and remanded to custody today.

It may be recalled that in 2001, the owner of the hotel chain, Rajagopal himself was convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment for allegedly getting his hotel employee Prince Santhakumar murdered so as to force his wife Jeevajothi to marry him.

The multi-millionnaire hotelier was granted bail after moving the Madras High Court in 2004. The case is still pending disposal.

Starting his career as a cleaner in a hotel, Rajagopal now controls a successful chain of restaurants with over 25 outlets in India and 22 in seven countries. 'Saravana' is a big brand name as one of the best vegetarian hotels.

UNI XR VV JT AS1114

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