The 60-year-old Siddhartha
The 60-year-old Siddhartha had gone missing since Monday evening from the road bridge between Ullal and Mangaluru over the river around 7pm, his driver Basavaraj Patil told the police.(AFP photo) Image Credit: AFP

Mangaluru: Update: Coffee Day names S.V. Ranganath as Interim Chairman.

Some outlets of the popular coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) in the central business district of Bengaluru were  shut on Wednesday as a mark of respect to its founder-chairman V.G. Siddhartha, whose body was found in the morning, a company source said on Wednesday.

"Retail outlets in the city centre, including our main coffee 'the square' opposite the famous Cubbon Park are closed for the day as a homage to our founder-chairman along with our main office above the cafe," a CCD source clarified to IANS here.

Earlier in the day, the source said all the CCD outlets across the country would remain shut as a mark of respect to Siddhartha.

"CCD offices, including that of Coffee Global Enterprises and the Amalgamated Bean Coffee (ABC), have also been shut across the country," the source said on the condition of anonymity.

"A holiday has also been declared for the workers and employees of all coffee estates in the three coffee districts of Chikkamagaluru, Hassan and Kodugu in the southern state due to the sudden death of coffee king Siddhartha," added the source.

The body of the 60-year-old coffee baron was found floating in the backwaters of the river by two fishermen around 6.30am.

He leaves behind widow Malavika Hegde and two sons.

After a 30-hour search, the body of Café Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha was recovered from Nethravathi river early on Wednesday, according to local police.

Indian media reported that the body was traced in the backwaters of the river after a massive search operation. It was found floating near the Hoige Bazaar at around 6.30am, said local police.

A group of fishermen recovered the body from the Netravathi river in Karnataka, at a distance from the bridge where the coffee baron was last seen late on Monday.

"Body of missing CCD founder was found by two fishermen," said Ullal Congress MLA U.T. Khader in Mangaluru.

"Family members have been informed," city police commissioner Sandeep Patil was quoted by local media as saying.

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Siddhartha, who is also the son-in-law of former Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna, was last seen on a bridge over the Netravati river in the coastal town.

The body was found two days after he went missing, and following a massive search near the bridge where he was last seen.

190730 V G Siddhartha
V G Siddhartha Image Credit: Twitter

According to Indian media, Siddhartha apparently committed suicide. However, there's no official confirmation or conclusive evidence of this angle.

Fisherman saw man jumping into the river

A fisherman claimed to have seen a man jumping into the Netravathi river from the bridge in Karnataka's Mangaluru on Monday evening.

Siddhartha, 60, went missing since Monday evening from the road bridge between Ullal and Mangaluru over the river around 7 pm as his car driver Basavaraj Patil told the police.

Mountain of debt

Two days prior to his disappearance, the 60-year-old had left behind a note to his employees that revealed he was in deep debt.

The mountain of debt was impairing his business as working capital requirements could not be met. It led him to sale his stakes in IT firm Mindtree that gave him some room to manoeuvre.

"I have failed to create the right profitable business model despite my best efforts. I would like to say I gave it my all. I am very sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in me. I fought for a long time but today I gave up as I could not take any more pressure...," his note read.

In his desperation, he was also reportedly in a dialogue with global beverage maker Coca-Cola for an equity sale in flagship Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) at an enterprise valuation of around Rs 10,000 crore may have been on the anvil.

In a complaint to the police, his driver, who last saw him alive, said that Siddhartha told him to stop by the side soon as they drove on to the bridge and asked him to wait in the car at the end of the bridge as he wanted to walk up and had to make calls.

"When the rain started, I took a u-turn and drove back to the spot where I left Sir and searched around for him. As it was dark, windy and raining, I could not find him anywhere on the bridge or in the river," Patil said in the complaint.

Siddhartha left Bengaluru on Monday afternoon to Sakleshpur near Hassan where he has a house and one of his coffee estates. As it was on way to Mangaluru, he told Patil to drive towards Mangaluru after a short break at Sakleshpur to fresh-up.

Siddhartha is the elder son-in-law of senior BJP leader, S.M. Krishna, who was External Affairs Minister in the UPA-2 government (2009-12) and state Chief Minister (1999-2004) when in the Congress.