The founder-owner of Cafe Coffee Day, VG Siddhartha, who went missing, was found dead early Wednesday morning on the banks of the Netravati river near Mangaluru. Siddhartha was the son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna.
In the last 24 hours since his disappearance, a purported letter written by him to his employees became public, giving a sense of the financial strain he was under.
What Siddhartha said in his letter
# Hours before his disappearance was reported, Siddhartha called his personal staff at the company head office in Bengaluru and informed them about a letter to be disseminated. The purported letter referred to the “tremendous pressure” he was under from lenders and “harassment” from Income Tax officials. And that he was “very sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in me”.
# Police sources said that the July 27 letter that Siddhartha left behind and final conversations he had with a few staff members suggested he was not his usual self. “He told one staff member to look after the interests of the firm after clearing an outstanding loan. He seemed emotional. This was a bit out of character for the businessman.
# In the letter, Siddhartha said: “After 37 years with strong commitment to hard work having directly created 30,000 jobs in our companies and their subsidiaries, as well as 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 efforts.”
# “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.”
# The CCD board, in a statement, said: “The board also reviewed a copy of the letter purportedly signed by Mr. V. G. Siddhartha dated July 27, 2019, and has shared a copy of the letter with relevant authorities. The board has also sought the assistance of local and state authorities, who are doing their utmost, and relevant officers of the Company are cooperating with the authorities as requested.”