The body of Indian billionaire V.G. Siddhartha, founder of the Cafe Coffee Day chain, has been recovered from near the Netravathi river in Karnataka state, authorities have confirmed, less than 48 hours after he disappeared.
The coffee tycoon had reportedly sent a letter to shareholders in his company before he disappeared, apologizing for “let[ting] down all the people that put their trust in me” and lamenting that continuing financial troubles, debts and harassment from income tax authorities had led to “succumbing to the situation.”
V.G. Siddhartha, the owner of the popular Cafe Coffee Day chain (India’s rival of Starbucks), was last seen on Monday night walking across a bridge in the southern state of Karnataka. Siddhartha had ordered his chauffeur to stop near the bridge, then exited the vehicle while talking on his cellphone. The driver contacted police after his employer failed to return.
VG Siddhartha dead: From going missing to found dead — what all happened in between https://t.co/SkG8CQJvCl
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) July 31, 2019
Police began their search in the area below the bridge, indicating they suspected suicide, and a body was found less than 48 hours later near an ice plant in Hoigebazar by search and rescue teams. The body’s identity has been confirmed to the Hindu by Dakshina Kannada district deputy commissioner Sasikanth Senthil S.
The owner of Asia’s biggest coffee plantation, Siddhartha had recently come under scrutiny after tax authorities launched raids on his company in 2017.
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Tax authorities, however, have called the authenticity of the signature into doubt – even as police sources insist the letter was given to them by members of Siddhartha’s immediate family and came from his assistant. A senior official pledged to have the letter examined by the Forensic Science Laboratory to be sure of its authenticity.
Shares of Coffee Day Enterprises fell 20 percent to its lowest value ever after investors received the letter.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk