Coffee Day Says Aware Of Reports Questioning VG Siddhartha’s Signature On Letter
VG Siddhartha is the founder of Coffee Day Enterprises, which runs the Cafe Coffee Day chain of coffee shops. (Photographer: Amit Bhargava/Bloomberg News)

Coffee Day Says Aware Of Reports Questioning VG Siddhartha’s Signature On Letter

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Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd. on Tuesday said it is aware of reports questioning the authenticity of founder VG Siddhartha’s signature on a letter that was purportedly written by him barely days before his death. The operator of Cafe Coffee Day outlets also said it is cooperating with regulatory authorities in this regard.

On July 31, VG Siddhartha was pulled out dead from a river in South Karnataka, two days after he went missing. He was cremated at his estate in Chikmagalur.

The VG Siddhartha letter, which surfaced on social media the day he was reported missing, is believed to be the final note by the promoter of Cafe Coffee Day. It contains statements on his alleged harassment by the Income Tax department—a charge that the taxman has denied.

"The company is aware of news reports" and is "cooperating with regulatory authorities in relation to the letter and related matter", said Coffee Day Enterprises in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

On July 30, Bombay Stock Exchange sought clarifications from the company over reports that VG Siddhartha's signatures on the unverified letter were not matching with his signatures on other documents submitted to the Income Tax department.

In reply, Coffee Day Enterprises had then said: “The board also reviewed a copy of the letter purportedly signed by VG Siddhartha dated July 27, 2019, and has shared a copy of the letter with relevant authorities."

“The board has also sought the assistance of local and state authorities, who are doing their utmost, and relevant officers of the company are cooperating with the authorities as requested."

On the day of VG Siddhartha’s death, Coffee Day Enterprises named Independent Director SV Ranganath as the interim chairman of the company and appointed Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas as legal counsel for matter related to the letter.

On Tuesday, Coffee Day Enterprises’ shares fell 4.95 percent to Rs 85.50 apiece on the BSE while the benchmark Sensex gained 0.75 percent to end the day at 36,976.85 points.

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