A lot can happen over a cup of coffee and something like this has happened with Café Coffee Day founder V G Siddhartha. The body of Siddhartha was found on the banks of the Netravati river near Mangaluru earlier today at 4.30 am.
Siddhartha, the son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna was first reported missing on Monday evening by his driver, who was the last to see him. He had instructed his driver to drop him off at a bridge over the river en route Sakleshpur near Hassan. See how netizens are reacting to this;
The body, which had washed ashore near Ullal this morning, was discovered by fishermen, following which police reached the spot. His body has been kept at Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru, from where it will be taken to Chettanahalli estate near Mudigere.
The police had launched a massive search operation on Tuesday with teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Coast Guard, Home Guard, fire services and coastal police scouring the swollen Nethravathi river.
Hours before his disappearance, Siddhartha had called his personal staff at the Cafe Coffee Day head office in Bengaluru and informed them about a letter to be disseminated. The purported letter referred to the tremendous pressure he was under from lenders and harassment from Income Tax officials and that he was very sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in him.
Police sources said that the July 27 letter that Siddhartha left behind and final conversations he had with a few staff members suggested he was not his usual self. He told one staff member to look after the interests of the firm after clearing an outstanding loan. He seemed emotional. This was a bit out of character for the businessman.
Not only do these issues find mention in Siddhartha’s note to the board of directors of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd and his employees, but the publicly-listed company’s latest annual report also bears testimony to its rising liabilities. Many business tycoons have also shared their condolences over the same. Check them out here;
Cafe Coffee Day (popularly known as CCD) is India’s biggest coffee chain and its owner of late, was battling to repay its debt which topped almost Rs 4,500 crore. Though the group had raised debt from banks, mutual funds and NBFCs among others, Siddhartha’s letter to the board which was made public on Tuesday also points to pressure from a private equity partner to buy-back its holdings in Coffee Day Enterprises. It said the private equity partner exerted pressure on him and his businesses. A lot of people have shared their condolences over the same;
While Siddhartha also wrote about enforcement action by the tax department in the letter, the department said it acted as per legal provisions. In a press statement, the Office of Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Karnataka and Goa, Bangalore (B.R. Balakrishnan) said the provisional attachment of shares was made to protect the interests of revenue out of the income admitted by him based on credible evidence gathered during searches.
The department had attached Mindtree shares held by Siddhartha and Coffee Day which delayed the Larsen and Toubro deal to buy Mindtree. "This was very unfair and has led to a serious liquidity crunch," Siddhartha’s letter said.
His family has confirmed his identity and the cremation is likely to be held today.