Amid fears of the worst by his family and admirers, Café Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha went missing from the Netravathi Bridge in Mangalore on Monday, couple of days after he wrote a letter to CCD employees and family members in which apologised for being a failure to build a profitable business.
In the note purported to have been written by him, Siddhartha said “I am very sorry to let down all the people who put their trust in me. I fought for a long time but today I gave up as I could not take any more pressure. Siddhartha, is the son-in-law of former Union Minister SM Krishna. His letter dated July 27 went viral on social media and erupted in laments by friends and admirers on the state of economy as also harassment by government agencies that drove him to what is being suspected to be his suicide.
Siddhartha added that he could not take more pressure from private equity partners and other lenders.
Search parties, patrol boats and teams of swimmers are searching the river for the missing businessman ever since his family informed the authorities that he had gone missing. On Monday morning, he drove to the middle of the bridge and asked his driver to drop him off as he wanted to take a walk. After he did not return after an hour or so, the driver informed his family members who intern informed the authorities.
Local police pressed in swimmers, fishermen, dogsquads into service to trace the missing businessman and also sought the help of the coast guard in the search operations. Meanwhile, top politicians in the state, including former chief minster HD Kumaraswamy, visited former chief minister and now a BJP leader SM Krishna to be with him at their time of stress for the family. Siddhartha is the son in law of SM Krishna.
“There was a lot of harassment from the previous DG income tax in the form of attaching our shares on two separate occasions to block our Mindtree deal and then taking position of our Coffee Day shares, although the revised returns have been filed by us. This was very unfair and has led to a serious liquidity crunch,” Siddhartha said in his note to explain the difficulties he was facing in running the businesses.
“My intention was never to cheat or mislead anybody, I have failed as an entrepreneur. This is my sincere submission, I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me,” he said. The businessman also made a general statement that all decisions, financial transactions, were his only and he was the only person responsible and that he had kept his colleagues and business partners in the dark over the financial dealings.
Siddhartha’s CCD, which started with a modest outlet in Bangalore turned into a big nation-wide chain with some 15000 outlets.
He also made it a point to mention that the assets of the company far outweighed the liabilities. “As seen our assets outweigh our liabilities and can help repay everybody,” he said.
The incident of the businessman going missing was trending on social media. Amit Ranjan, another entrepreneur maintained that Siddhartha was not a failed entrepreneur. “Black letter day for startups & entrepreneurship in India! Has to be said - new age startups are lucky to be (largely) funded by equity, debt driven businesses are far more harsh & stressful #CCD,” Amit Ranjan tweeted.
“'My intention was never to cheat anybody, I failed as entrepreneur,” Siddhartha said in his letter.