Cafe Coffee Day Co-founder goes missing

V G Siddhartha

According to a complaint lodged by his driver Basavaraj Patil with Kankanady police, Siddhartha, 60, asked his driver to take him to Sakleshpur from Bengaluru and later proceed towards Mangaluru.

About 76% of Siddhartha and his family's holding in Coffee Day were pledged as collateral, according to filings.

"After 37 years, with strong commitment to hard work, having directly created 30,000 jobs in our companies and their subsidiaries, as well as another 20,000 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", he said in the letter reportedly written by him on July 27.

While the circumstances surrounding Siddhartha's disappearance remains a mystery, the Cafe Coffee Day founder sent a letter to employees sometime before he was reported missing that appeared to allude to mounting financial problems.

They said Siddhartha fetched Rs 3,200 crore from the sale of Mindtree shares, but paid only Rs 46 crore out of total Rs 300 crore minimum alternate tax (MAT) payable on the deal. His driver told the police that Siddhartha was talking on the phone when he got off the auto near Kotekar.

Coffee Day Enterprises, which owns CCD, also informed the BSE and National Stock Exchange that its owner was missing, The Economic Times reported. "I am very sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in me", the letter, obtained by the Times of India, read. A unit of private equity firm KKR & Co. owns 6.07% of the company, while Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Ltd., has a 2.69% stake.

There are reports doing the rounds that Siddhartha may have jumped off the Ullal bridge.

"Tremendous pressure from other lenders lead me to succumb to this situation". The company said it would "ensure continuity of business" in Siddhartha's absence.

The company said it was taking the help of the authorities concerned to trace him. He also owns Asia's largest coffee plantation.

However, the signature in the letter appears to be done in a hurry and does not match with his signature on Cafe Coffee Day's annual report.

Siddhartha told the company board that his intension was never to cheat or mislead anybody. "I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me", the letter mentions.

The coffee entrepreneur, who is the son-in-law of former external affairs minister and former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna, was recently in talks with Coca-Cola, offering the multinational giant a stake in the coffee retail business.



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