The body of the founder of India’s largest coffee shop chain has been found on a river bank after a huge search effort, police said. VG Siddhartha, the founder and chairman of the Cafe Coffee Day chain that has at least 1,750 outlets across the country, disappeared near the Netravati river in Mangaluru on Monday after telling his driver he wanted to go for a walk.
Graphic, close-up images of the body of the tycoon, known as India’s “Coffee King”, were aired on some local TV channels, while videos posted to social media showed a host of cameramen – and at least one reporter doing a piece to camera – standing over the body on a river bank. The disappearance of Mr Siddhartha has attracted huge attention in India, where high-profile business tycoons are largely venerated.
Police said the body was found by a fisherman early on Wednesday (July 31) morning and that it was confirmed to be that of the missing businessman. “We have sent his body for post mortem analysis now and are awaiting results,” Sasikanth Senthil, deputy commissioner of South Karnataka police, told the AFP news agency.
His company, Coffee Day Enterprises Limited, held an emergency board meeting on Monday and shared an already widely-circulated letter signed by Mr Siddhartha in which he said he was in debt and that he was being harassed by unnamed tax officials.
Police confirmed Mr Siddhartha was last spotted on a bridge over the river. An investigation was under way to determine whether he took his own life, said Sandeep Patil, Mangaluru police commissioner.
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17 November, 2019