CCD founder VG Siddhartha’s body recovered
VG Siddhartha, Cafe Coffee Day founder and son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna, was cremated at his estate in Karnataka’s Chikmagalur district on Tuesday, hours after his body was found floating on the Netravathi river into which he is believed to have jumped on Monday.
Early on Tuesday morning, a few fishermen saw Siddhartha’s body floating near the Hoige Bazar area of Mangaluru, a short distance away from where Siddhartha, 59, is believed to have jumped into the river from the Netravathi Bridge.
A manhunt had been launched on Monday to locate Siddhartha, who went missing after alighting from his car and asking his driver to wait for him at the end of the bridge. “We traced the body around 6am and sent it to Wenlock Hospital here,” Sandeep Patil, police commissioner of Mangaluru city, said. He added that he could not reveal more information as the investigation was underway.
The body was then taken to the Amalgamated Bean Company office in Chikmagalur and from there to Siddhartha’s estate in the Chetanahally Estate in Mudigere taluk of the district. Krishna and his family were flown to the area in a helicopter.
Senior leaders from across political parties, including chief minister BS Yediyurappa, Congress leader DK Shivakumar, and several others were present at the estate when Siddhartha’s body was cremated. Thousands gathered at the estate to pay their respects to the entrepreneur.
The state Assembly, which was in session on Wednesday, was adjourned around 1pm to allow legislators to travel to Chattanahalli village, where Siddhartha’s estate is located, about 230km from the state capital. Siddhartha is survived by his wife Malavika, and sons Amartya and Ishaan.
Speaking after paying his respects, Yediyurappa said Siddhartha was a very humble person. “Through Coffee Day, he popularised coffee across the world and gave employment to 35,000-40,000 people. It is unfortunate. None of us had any inkling that Krishna’s son-in-law would take such an extreme step,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Shivakumar said Siddhartha was Karnataka’s asset. “No other Kannadiga gave so many people employment and ran a business with such honesty. I still can’t believe what has happened,” he said. “Let the Income Tax Department say anything but he was a very big businessman and I won’t comment on anything else,” he said, when asked about a press release issued by the I-T Department on Tuesday.
The release was put out to rebut charges made in a letter written purportedly by Siddhartha, where it was claimed that he faced immense pressure from the I-T department and some investors. In the letter, he purportedly said he had given it his all but had failed and that he alone was responsible everything related to his company.