VG Siddhartha, the founder and owner of popular chain Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) and son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna, was found dead on the banks of the Netravati river near Mangaluru at 4.30 am Wednesday. He had gone missing from Mangaluru since Monday night. Siddhartha was on a business trip to Chickmagaluru and was last seen near Ullal bridge over the Netravati river on Monday evening.
Siddhartha had reportedly asked his driver to take him near the bridge, from where he got down and said he was going for a walk. “He (Siddhartha) asked the driver to wait until his arrival. When he did not return even after two hours, the driver approached the police and lodged a missing complaint,” Deputy Commissioner, Dakshina Kannada district, Senthil Sasikant Senthil told PTI.
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Born in Malenadu region of Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district, Siddhartha did his master’s degree in economics from Mangalore University. He was married to Krishna’s daughter Malavika.
Siddhartha’s career started at the age of 24, in 1983-84, when he joined J M Financial Limited in Mumbai as a management trainee/intern in Portfolio Management and securities trading on the Indian Stock Market under Vice-Chairman Mahendra Kampani. After a two-year stint there, he returned to Bengaluru to start his own business.
Almost 15 years later, Siddhartha started a coffee business in the state. He is known to grow coffee in Chikmagalur and exports about 28,000 tonnes of coffee annually and sells another 2,000 tonnes locally for about Rs 350 million each year. Amalgamated Bean Company (ABC), Siddhartha’s coffee growing and trading company which started in 1992 with a turnover of Rs 60 million, has an annual turnover of Rs 25 billion.
The businessman, who owns 12,000 acres (4047 ha) of coffee plantations, has now 200 exclusive retail outlets selling his brand of Coffee Day powder all over South India. ABC is India’s largest exporter of green coffee.
Siddhartha became the first entrepreneur in Karnataka to set up a café in 1996 — CCD, which has now become India’s largest and premier retail chain of cafes with 1,423 cafes in 209 cities/towns.
On September 21, the Income Tax department had raided the offices and house of Siddhartha among 20 locations across the country including Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Chikkamagaluru.