Cafe Coffee Day Founder VG Siddhartha’s Body Recovered
Cafe Coffee Day Founder VG Siddhartha’s body was recovered from the banks of the Netravati river in Mangaluru today, according to reports by Bloomberg and ANI, putting an end to the search operation for the indebted tycoon.
Siddhartha—the 58-year-old son-in-law of former Karnataka Chief Minister SM Krishna—had been reported missing on Monday evening. He was headed for Sakleshpur in Karnataka but on the way he had asked his driver to go towards Mangaluru, according to the police. On reaching a bridge over the Netravati river in Kotepura area of Dakshina Kannada district, he alighted from the car and told his driver that he was going for a walk.
“He (Siddhartha) asked the driver to wait till his arrival. When he did not return even after two hours, the driver approached the police and lodged a missing complaint,” Sasikant Senthil, deputy commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district, said.
Shares of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd. hit the lower circuit this morning, falling 20 percent. The stock price had tanked as much as 20 percent yesterday as well, after a July 27 dated letter surfaced where Siddhartha spoke of “succumbing to pressure” from his lenders.
“VG Siddhartha, chairman and managing director of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd., is not reachable since yesterday evening. We are taking the help of concerned authorities,” Coffee Day had said yesterday in a regulatory filing. “The company is professionally managed and led by competent leadership team, which will ensure continuity of business.”
Siddhartha started selling assets earlier this year to cut his obligations. In April, he sold a 20 percent stake in software services firm Mindtree Ltd. to engineering giant Larsen & Toubro Ltd.
Siddhartha holds a 32.75 percent stake in Coffee Day Enterprises—a holding company for several businesses, including Cafe Coffee Day, which has 1,650 outlets across the country. A unit of private equity firm KKR & Co. owns 6.07 percent of the company, while Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Ltd., has a 2.69 percent stake.
“We are deeply saddened by the developments and our thoughts are with his family at this time,” KKR spokesperson had said by email. The fund sold 4.25 percent of its holding of about 10.3 percent last February and haven’t sold any shares before or since, the official said.
(With inputs from PTI)