VG Siddhartha, the founder of India's largest Coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day, has gone missing since Monday evening.
According to the reports, Siddhartha who also owns Asia’s single-largest coffee estate, got off from his car near a bridge across the Nethravathi River near Mangalore, about 375km from Bengaluru, but did not return even after an hour. A panicked driver went down looking for him, but could not find him anywhere. He then alerted the family members who in turn informed the police.
He also drafted a letter to the board of directors and his CCD family before the reports of his missing. His letter to the CCD family read, “I failed to create the right profitable business model despite my best efforts”. He added, “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 from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares….
Here is the full text of the letter:
To our Board of Directors and Coffee day family
After 37 years, with strong commitment to hard work, having directly created 30,000 jobs in our Companies and their subsidiaries, as well as another 20.000 jobs in technology company where have been a large shareholder since its founding, 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 from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shores, a transaction I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend. Tremendous pressure from other lenders nod to me succumbing to the situation.
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.
I sincerely request each of you to be strong and to continue running these businesses with a new management. I am solely responsible for all mistakes. Every financial transaction is my responsibility. My team, auditors and senior management are totally unaware of all my transactions. The law should hold me and only me accountable, as I have withheld this information from everybody including my family.
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. I have enclosed a list of our assets and tentative value of each asset. As seen below our assets outweigh our liabilities and can help repay everybody.
According the reports, the search is still on for missing owner and The Dakshina Kannada police have launched a massive search for him. According to his driver, Siddhartha, known as the Coffee King of India, was talking to someone on his mobile phone when he got off from the car near Kotekar.
The news of Siddhartha's disappearance has spread like wildfire across Karnataka and hundreds of his relatives and friends have gathered at his father-in-law and former Karnataka CM SM Krishna's house in Bengaluru.
Siddhartha is married to SM Krishna's first daughter Malavika. They have two sons. Besides Cafe Coffee Day, Siddhartha has founded a hospitality chain which runs a seven-star resort Serai and Cicada.
Siddhartha is from a coffee growing family in Chickmagalur district and made it big through his vision and hard work.
He first founded Cafe Coffee Day in mid 1990s on Brigade Road which has now become an international brand with more than 1500 outelts. He recently sold his stakes in a software company Mindtree for about Rs 3,000 crore and was also in the news for being in talks with Coca-Cola to sell CCD.