Mangaluru, July 30: VG Siddhartha, the founder of India’s largest coffee chain Cafe Cofee Day and son-in-law of former Karnataka CM and Union minister SM Krishna’s has reportedly gone missing from the Netravati Bridge in Ullal, Karnataka since Monday evening 7.30 pm. According to news reports, on Monday, the 58-year-old entrepreneur left from Chikkamagalur on a business trip in his Innova car bearing registration No. KA 03 NC 2592 . When the car reached near Pumpwell, two who had accompanied Siddhartha alighted from the vehicle and went away. Siddhartha had asked the driver to go to Kerala.
Reports suggest Siddhartha got off from his car near the bridge in Jeppina Mugeru, Ullal on the Netravati River near Mangalore and did not come back. As Siddhartha did not return even after an hour, his driver tried to look for him but to no avail. He later informed the family members who further reported the police about the incident.
As per the driver, Siddhartha was talking to someone over the mobile phone when he got off from the car. The Karnataka Police have launched a massive search operation in the area to find the missing businessman. Infratsructure major Larsen & Toubro had recently purchased around 20 per cent stake of VG Siddhartha and Cafe Coffee Day in tech company Mindtree through block deal for about Rs 3,210 crore.
8.23 AM, July 30: "I was shocked when I got the news. Police Commissioner and DC have ordered a search operation, it is being carried out with support from locals," says Congress leader UT Khadar. Search operation underway.
As news of Siddhartha’s missing spread, people began gathering outside the residence of SM Krishna.
Cafe Coffee Day, VG Siddhartha
After completing his post-graduation, Siddartha started working at JM Financial Limited in Mumbai. Later, he shifted to Bengaluru and started a company in the name of Sivan Securities. The company was renamed Global Technology Ventures in the year 2000. Along with that he also started the Cafe Coffee Day chain. He has been credited with making the Chikkamagaluru coffee popular worldwide.
The Mindtree connection
In January, the Income Tax Department attached a portion of shares held by V G Siddhartha and Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd in IT firm Mindtree over a potential tax demand. The attachment also "prohibited for transfer or charge" of 22.2 lakh equity shares of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd, and 52.7 lakh shares held by Siddhartha.
The Cafe Coffee Day founder was in the news recently for having sold his 21 percent stake in the Bengaluru-based IT firm, Mindtree to infrastructure major Larsen and Toubro (L&T). Mindtree’s promoters— Subroto Bagchi, Krishnakumar Natarajan, NS Parthasarathy, and Rostow Ravanan, together held roughly 13 percent stake in the company, besides VG Siddhartha.
The sale of Siddhartha’s shares put Mindtree in the midst of a takeover battle. Mindtree promoters were opposed to the deal.
According to a CNBC-TV18 report, Siddhartha had invested Rs 340 crore for stakes in Mindtree since 1999. After selling his 20.4 percent stake to L&T, he pocketed a massive profit of nearly Rs 3,000 crore after 20 years.