Bengaluru: It's not unusual for visitors to throng the residence of former Karnataka chief minister S.M.Krishna, located in upscale Sadashiva Nagar in Bengaluru. But on Tuesday morning, the purpose of the visits was personal rather than political.
Krishna's son-in-law and Cafe Coffee Day owner V.G. Siddhartha has been missing and is suspected to have thrown himself off a bridge near Mangaluru, on Monday night.
Following reports of Siddhartha gone missing, Karnataka chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa, his predecessor H.D.Kumaraswamy, Congress leaders like D.K.Shivakumar, M.B.Patil, G.Parameshwara and scores of others rushed to meet the 87-year old Krishna.
In a regulatory filing to stock exchanges on Tuesday, Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd said its chairman and managing director Siddhartha has not been reachable since late Monday and the company was engaged with concerned authorities to track him down. “...the company is professionally managed and led by competent leadership team, which will ensure continuity of business," the filing said.
"Should I get more information or send someone there?" said one anxious visitor, offering all and any help to get fresh information from the coastal city of Mangaluru, about 350 km from Bengaluru.
Others wondered veracity of the reports saying the businessman threw himself off a bridge as he was neck-deep in debt. It has been difficult for most to comprehend the possibility that Siddhartha, a poster boy of a success with interests in coffee to software, may be no more.
One person, who spoke of his association with Krishna family, broke down saying he did not expect such a decision from Siddhartha.
"I feared the worst after reading the letter," said a lady, referring to a letter supposedly written by Siddhartha to his employees three days ago. The authenticity of the letter could not be independently verified.
Mangaluru police began searching the area after Siddhartha's driver Basavaraj Patil filed a complaint with the police early on Tuesday. A massive search operation involving locals, state and central is currently underway in Mangaluru.
In March, Siddhartha garnered about ₹3,200 crore by selling the 20.32% stake held by him and two CCD affiliate firms (Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd and Coffee Day Trading Ltd) in software services company Mindtree Ltd to Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) in March. The deal helped Siddhartha repay his debt of about ₹2,900 crore, vastly improving his financial condition.
Also read: ED says probe against VG Siddhartha ‘not very serious’
Also read: Cafe Coffee Day founder's stake sale in Mindtree hits I-T hurdle