The body of Cafe Coffee Day founder V G Siddhartha was cremated at his ancestral place Chethanahalli in Mudigere taluk of Chikkamagaluru on Wednesday.
The body of Siddhartha, who was the son-in-law of former External Affairs Minister and former Karnataka Chief minister S M Krishna, was found on the banks of Nethravathi river near Mangaluru at 4.30 am on Wednesday. He had been missing since Monday. Hours before his disappearance was reported, Siddhartha called his personal staff at the company head office in Bengaluru and informed them about a letter to be disseminated. The purported letter referred to the “tremendous pressure” he was under from lenders and “harassment” from Income Tax officials.
Politicians and celebrities from across the state paid tributes to the businessman at Mangaluru and at his establishment in Chikkamagaluru before the body was taken to Chethanahalli for the funeral.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa was the first among politicians to pay his tributes. Among the others to pay tribute were BJP leaders Ashoka and C T Ravi, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy and Congress leaders K J George and N A Haris.
Senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar spent time with the deceased’s family and flew with Krishna and his wife in a helicopter from the HAL airport in Bengaluru to Chikkamagaluru in the afternoon.
Chief Minister Yediyurappa tweeted, “I am shocked to know that Cafe Coffee Day founder and businessman Siddhartha who is also former chief minister Shri SM Krishna’s son-in-law is no more. This causes deep pain. May the Almighty have mercy on his family. May his soul rest in peace.”
The 60-year-old businessman was last seen by his driver near a bridge over the Nethravathi river. The body was found after the police launched a massive search operation. Teams of National Disaster Response Force, Coast Guard, Home Guard, fire services and coastal police scoured the river to look for him.
The postmortem was conducted in Wenlock hospital in Mangaluru. Later, his body was brought to Chethanahalli coffee estate in Mudigere. The last rites were performed by his sons Amartya and Ishaan. Siddhartha’s 96-year-old father S N Gangaiah Hegde could not attend the funeral as he is admitted to a hospital in Mysuru.
According to police, eyewitnesses spotted the body early on Wednesday morning and informed the police.
“We are very sad to confirm V G Siddartha’s death. We had hopes of him being alive somewhere even when many thought he might have taken some extreme step. A person like him doing this is shocking,” former minister U T Khader said at Ullal.
The Karnataka Coffee Planters’ Association gave the day off to all coffee estate labourers in Chikkamagaluru, Kodagu, and Hassan districts after the news of Siddhartha’s death emerged. Many commercial establishments in Chickamagaluru remained shut.
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