July 31, 2019, 9:33 PM
VG Siddhartha, Founder, Cafe Coffee Day

VG Siddhartha (60), the founder of the popular Cafe Coffee Day chain, who had gone missing from a river bridge near Mangaluru on Monday, is no more. Siddhartha’s dead body was found by local fishermen in the Netharavathi River on Wednesday at around 6 am.

Siddhartha’s body was sent for post-mortem at the government-run Wenlock Hospital on the directions of Mangaluru Commissioner of Police Sandeep Patil, who reached the spot as soon as the body was found.

Patil told reporters, “The body was found in Hoige Bazaar at 6am. We have also informed the matter to his family. The body has been sent to Wenlock Hospital for taking up formalities. We will continue the investigation.”

Siddhartha had arrived in Mangaluru from Bengaluru at 6 pm on Monday in his SUV. He had asked his driver Basavaraj Patil to drive towards the Netharavathi Bridge, where he was last seen by his driver. Following a complaint by the driver, a massive search operation was launched to search for Siddhartha.

It is being suspected that Siddhartha committed suicide. He reportedly wrote a letter to CCD family saying that it was difficult for him to continue under the prevailing conditions and that the pressure had become too much for him. The letter’s authenticity is however under suspicion.

The letter read:

After 37 years, with strong commitment to hard work, having directly created 30,000 jobs in technology company where I have been a large shareholder since its founding. I have failed to create the right profitable business model despite my best efforts. I would like to say I have given it my all. I am very sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in me. I fought for a long time but today I have given up as I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares. A transaction I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend. Tremendous pressure from other lenders lead to me succumbing to the situation. There was a lot of harassment from the previous DG income tax in the form of attaching our shares on two separate occasions to block our Mindtree deal and then taken possession of our Coffee Day shares, although the revised returns have been filed by us. This was very unfair and has led to a serious liquidity crunch.

I sincerely request each of you to be strong and to continue running these businesses with a new management. I am solely responsible for all mistakes. Every financial transaction is my responsibility. My team, auditors and senior management and totally unaware of all my transactions. The law should hold me and only me accountable, as I have withheld this information from everybody including my family. My intention was never to cheat or mislead anybody. I have failed as an entrepreneur. This is my sincere submission. I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me. I have enclosed a list of our assets and tentative value of each asset. As seen below our assets outweigh our liabilities and can help repay everybody. Regards, V.G. Siddhartha

VG Siddhartha, the founder of Cafe Coffee Day, was a renowned businessman and the son-in-law of former Karnataka CM SM Krishna.

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