The body of VG Siddhartha, founder of India's largest coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day and son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister and BJP leader SM Krishna, was found in the Netravati river on Wednesday morning. Hours after he went missing, News18 had accessed a letter that he reportedly wrote to his employees.
Popularly known as the Coffee King of India, Siddhartha, in his letter, blamed one of his private equity partners for “creating pressure” to buy back stocks. “I fought for a long time but today I gave up as I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares, a transaction, I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend,” he wrote.
Siddhartha had in March this year made the headlines for selling his stake in Mindtree to L&T, which then mounted the first hostile takeover in Indian IT industry.
The letter also alleged harassment by the previous DG, Income Tax. “There was a lot of harassment from the previous DG income tax attaching our shares on two separate occasions to block our Mindtree deal and then taking position of our Cafe Coffee Day shares, although the revised returns have been filed by us. This is very unfair and has led to serious liquidity crunch,” the letter read.
The Café Coffee Day owner found himself in trouble in 2017 when the Income Tax Department first raided his premises and found Rs 650 crore concealed income from the documents seized while concluding the search and seize operations.
Siddhartha went missing on Monday evening when he got off from his car near a bridge across the Nethravathi River near Mangalore, about 375km from Bengaluru, but did not return even after an hour. A panicked driver went down looking for him, but could not find him anywhere. He then alerted the family members who in turn informed the police.
The Dakshina Kannada police have launched a massive search for him. According to his driver, Siddhartha was talking to someone on his mobile phone when he got off from the car near Kotekar.
Meanwhile, the letter also goes onto apologise to its employees. “I have failed to create the right profitable business model despite my best efforts… My intention was never to cheat anybody. I have failed as an entrepreneur. This is my sincere submission, I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me,” read the letter.
Justifying his financials, Siddhartha also wrote, “I have enclosed a list of our assets and tentative value of each asset. As seen below our assets outweigh our liabilities and help repay everybody.”