Mangaluru: The body of V.G. Siddhartha, Founder of India’s largest coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day, was found this morning near Nethravathi River in Mangaluru.
Siddhartha, who is the son-in-law of former Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP leader S.M. Krishna, had been missing since Monday evening. The body was found on the banks of Nethravathi, close to an ice plant at Hoige Bazar, over 9 kms from the Nethravathi Bridge from where Siddhartha went missing.
Reports from Mangaluru said that a fisherman named Ritesh on a trawler boat found the body when he cast his net into the waters. The Dakshina Kannada Police, yesterday morning, had launched a massive search in an attempt to find Siddhartha’s body, suspecting he committed suicide as his phone location was close to the Nethravathi Bridge that connects Mangaluru and Kasargod in Kerala.
Police and the Dakshina Kannada Administration were probing multiple angles to the disappearance but the suicide angle emerged stronger as hours passed and this morning, their worst fears were confirmed when the body was discovered. Since the Police had informed fishermen to keep an eye out, Ritesh suspected that the body could have been Siddhartha’s and immediately informed a local resident Ashwath, who subsequently intimated the local Corporator and the Police.
A tip-off from a local fisherman, who saw someone falling from a bridge on Monday evening, helped officials narrow down the search for the body. The fisherman, Symond D’Souza told the media that he tried to help the man who fell, but couldn’t due to heavy rain.
A massive team of 100 fire-fighters, 100 policemen, 50 divers, 50 fishermen and 30 boats, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Coast Guard and Home Guard personnel, were involved in the search operations.
Locals who identified Siddhartha’s body said that based on the dress description, shoes, they could identify the deceased. The facial features of the victim were still identifiable, they said.
Later, Siddhartha’s body was shifted to Wenlock Government Hospital in Mangaluru where the post-mortem was conducted before the body was handed over to family. A large number of people had gathered at the Wenlock Hospital to pay their last respects to India’s Coffee King.
Later, the body was shifted to Chikkamagaluru in an ambulance. According to family sources, Siddhartha’s last rites would be held at the family estate ‘Chethana’ located in Chethanahalli at Mudigere in Chikkamagaluru today.
His body will also be kept for public viewing at Chikkamagaluru. Meanwhile, residents of Chethanahalli observed a bandh as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
Siddhartha’s family members including S.M. Krishna, Prema Krishna, wife Malavika and other relatives left for Chikkamagaluru this morning from Bengaluru to perform the last rites. Krishna along with his wife and former Minister D.K. Shivakumar left Bengaluru in a private chopper to Chikkamagaluru for Siddhartha’s last rites.
Tributes pour in
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairperson and MD of Biocon said, “It is a tragic end to a great success story. It is really hard to imagine someone who created India’s Starbucks can take his own life.”
Kunal Bahl, Co-founder and CEO of the e-commerce platform Snapdeal called Siddhartha ‘an absolute gentleman’ and said that he will always see his legacy as a very successful entrepreneur.
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa expressed shock and paid heartfelt condolences on his death. “My heart goes with the bereaved family and may God rest his soul in peace,” he said in a tweet.
Karnataka Congress slammed the ruling BJP and blamed the party for creating an atmosphere not conducive for growing businesses. Former Karnataka CM Siddharamaiah remembered Siddhartha’s contribution to the state and the country.
Several people on Twitter also spoke about how some of their fondest days and dates were spent in Cafe Coffee Day, one of the very first coffee chains to have started in India.
Be it hanging out with friends and family, or a wish for something more refined than regular tea, CCD was the go-to place for many. Cafe Coffee Day has been a happy place, a place to chill, hang out with friends or businesses meet. A lot can happen over coffee, wrote a netizen.
CCD declares holiday
All Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) outlets across the country were closed today as a mark of respect. There are about 1,750 CCD outlets spread across 240 cities in the country.
Offices of the CCD, including the Coffee Global Enterprises and the Amalgamated Bean Coffee (ABC), were also closed. The company also declared holiday for workers and employees of all coffee estates in Chikkamagaluru, Hassan and Kodagu.
Banks can drive anyone to despair: Vijay Mallya
Many entrepreneurs, industry experts and politicians took to social media to offer condolences over Siddhartha’s “untimely” death. Reacting to the demise of Siddhartha, businessman Vijay Mallya empathised with Siddhartha’s letter saying that Indian ‘Government and banks can drive anyone to despair.’ He gave his own example and called Indian financial institutions as ‘vicious and unrelenting.’
It must be a well planned murder! Congress netas used his business for money laundering and he must have been afraid that image is tarnished Real decent person caught in the web !