The news of the Founder & CEO of Cafe Coffee Day, VG Siddhartha Hegde, going missing broke yesterday bringing the nation to a stir. According to reports, he was speculated to have drowned in the Netravati river in Mangaluru, Karnataka, where he was last seen. Earlier today, it was confirmed that Siddhartha has passed away. His body was recovered from the banks of Netravati river.
Mangaluru police said that Siddhartha's family was alerted by their driver. Apparently, the late founder had arrived from Bengaluru at 8 pm on Monday night in his SUV and had asked his driver to take him to the Ullal bridge over the river. The driver notified the family when Siddhartha didn't return for an hour after getting down the car on the bridge.
Suspicion arose when the police came to know that a man had jumped off the bridge into the river around 9 pm. Search parties were sent on the location to find the man. According to TOI, over 200 people,including 25 swimmers, were engaged in the search operation.
"Yesterday, he had left Bengaluru saying he was going to Sakleshpur. But on the way, he told the driver to go to Mangaluru. After reaching the Ullal bridge, he got down from the car. Siddhartha asked his driver to drive a little further and stop. He will come walking. However, he didn't return. The dog squad used to locate him too stopped at the middle of the bridge," Mangaluru city police commissioner Sandeep Patil said.
The search operations were called off when a fisherman, Rithesh, spotted him in the river earlier today, "I was out fishing when I spotted the body. I had participated in the rescue operations with the district administration yesterday as well."
A letter, purportedly written by Siddhartha, was recovered shortly after the news of him missing broke out. It stated that he was under tremendous pressure from lenders, private equity partners and tax authorities for the debt he owed. However, the IT department did not verify the letter independently, saying the initials don’t match his filings.
The country is facing a great loss today. That of the founder of India's largest coffee chain. #VGSiddhartha has been trending on social media with people sharing their CCD stories and offering condolences to the family.