Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha’s body found

The body  of VG Siddhartha — the founder-owner of the chain of Cafe Coffee Day who had gone missing from Mangaluru in Karnataka — has been found .

Siddhartha’s body, according to news agency ANI, was found on the banks of the river near the Hoige Bazaar in Mangaluru.

According to police, Siddhartha was headed for Sakaleshpur but on the way he had asked his driver to go towards Mangaluru. On reaching a bridge over the Netravati river in the Kotepura area in Dakshina Kannada district, he got down from the car and told his driver that he was going for a walk.

According to reports, police started searching in the area after Siddhartha’s driver filed a complaint with the police on Tuesday morning raising suspicion if the person who jumped off the bridge was indeed the CCD founder.

Siddhartha was born in Chikkamagaluru district in Karnataka state in a lush green malenadu. He obtained a master’s degree in economics from St. Aloysius College and Mangalore University, Karnataka. He is the son-in-law of S. M. Krishna, the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, Indian Minister for External Affairs and Governor of Maharashtra.

He joined J M Financial Limited in 1983-1984 in Mumbai as a management trainee/intern in portfolio management and securities trading on the Indian stock market under Vice Chairman, Mahendra Kampani. He was just 24 years then. After two years with J M Financial Limited, when Siddhartha returned to Bangalore, his father gave him money to start a business of his choice. Siddhartha bought a stock market card for Rs. 30,000, along with a company called Sivan Securities, which was renamed in 2000 as Way2wealth Securities Ltd. Its venture capital division came to be known as Global Technology Ventures (GTV) as well as a site in the city in 1984, and turned it into a highly successful investment banking and stock brokerage company.

Almost 15 years later, Siddhartha established a successful coffee business in Karnataka. He grows coffee in Chikmagalur and exports about 28,000 tonnes of coffee annually and sells another 2,000 tonnes locally for about Rs 350 million each year. His coffee growing and trading company, Amalgamated Bean Company (ABC), has an annual turnover of Rs 25 billion. Siddhartha now has 200 exclusive retail outlets selling his brand of Coffee Day powder all over South India. ABC is India’s largest exporter of green coffee.

He owns 12,000 acres (4047 ha) of coffee plantations.

He started his coffee trading company ABC in 1993, with a Rs 60 million turnover. His company grew gradually. He bought an ailing coffee curing unit in Hassan for Rs 40 million and turned it around. Now, his company has a curing capacity of 75,000 tonnes, which is the largest in the country.

He was the first entrepreneur in Karnataka to set up a café in 1996 (Café Coffee Day, a chain of “youth hangout” coffee parlors). Now, he has 1550 Coffee Day Cafes in India. Siddhartha also hopes to win the contract to take his chain to all the airports of Karnataka and then to the rest of the country. His cyber cafes attract at least 40,000 to 50,000 visitors a week.

Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company Ltd. today is the largest exporter of green coffee from India and perhaps one of the two fully integrated coffee companies of Asia, involved in all sectors of coffee from plantations to retailing to exports. Café Coffee Day has become India’s largest and premier retail chain of cafes with 1,423 cafes in 209 cities/towns.

At present, he also holds board seats in GTV, Mindtree, Liqwid Krystal, Way2Wealth and Ittiam.

Owner of the Cafe Coffee Day chain, V G Siddhartha, found himself amidst a tax evasion on 21 September 2017. A tax raid was conducted at over 20 locations in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Chikmagalur by senior officers of Income Tax Department of Karnataka and Goa regions.

On the evening of 29 July 2019, he left his car and driver near a bridge over the Netravati River in Ullal, Mangalore and has not been seen since then.

The Indian Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force have joined the search. A letter, apparently written by Siddhartha and addressed to the company board, shareholders, and family, surfaced a few hours after he went missing. One of the fisherman claimed he has seen someone jumping off the bridge and when he tried reaching him he had already gone too deep in water.

According to the officials, 100 firefighter, 100 policemen, 50 divers and 50 fishermen and 30 boats had been deployed for the search operations.

In his last letter addressing to his employees, he wrote “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.”

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