Coffee Day founder V G Siddhartha, who went missing from near a bridge over the Netravati river in the Kotepura area in Dakshina Kannada district in Karanataka on Monday night, had apparently written a letter talking about his financial struggles and pressure from lenders.
"I am very very sorry to let down all the people who had put their trust in me. I have failed as an entrepreneur. 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, a transaction I had completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend. Tremendous pressure from other lenders led to me succumbing to the situation," the letter reads.
Founder & owner, Cafe Coffee Day (CCD), #VGSiddhartha's letter to employees and board of directors of CCD, states, "Every financial transaction is my responsibility...the law should hold me & only me accountable."; He has gone missing from Mangaluru, search operation underway. pic.twitter.com/0GJc5vmvYt— ANI (@ANI) July 30, 2019
"I failed to create the right profitable business model despite my best efforts. Faced financial pressure from lenders, borrowed money. I never intended to cheat anyone," Siddhartha, the son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister S M Krishna, added.
Taking responsibility for all the mistakes, he made a request to continue running the business with new management.
"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," he said.
Meanwhile, more than 200 policemen and divers on about 25 boats were carrying out searches for him.
Mangaluru Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil said that sniffer dogs have also been pressed into service. "The help of local fishermen is being taken in the search. We are checking who all he spoke to over phone," Mangaluru Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil said in a message.
Siddhartha is the founder-owner of CCD, a chain of coffee outlets in India, and has been its chairman and managing director since January 17, 2015. The company sources coffee beans from its plantations in Chikkamagaluru.
He is also an investor and has stakes in some IT firms, including Mindtree, and is among the largest exporters of coffee bean in the country.
In 2017, Income Tax officials raided properties belonging Siddhartha, who is also the chairman and managing director of the CCD group.
Searches were conducted at over 20 locations across the country, including those in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Chikkamagaluru, Income Tax department sources had said.