31 Jul 2019

Missing Indian coffee tycoon's body found - police

5:52 pm on 31 July 2019

Authorities confirmed they have located the body of Indian coffee baron VG Siddhartha from near Netravathi river, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Owner of the Café Coffee Day chain VG Siddhartha poses for a photograph in 2015.

Owner of the Café Coffee Day chain VG Siddhartha poses for a photograph in 2015. Photo: AFP / Sam Panthaky

Mr Siddhartha, the founder of popular Indian chain Cafe Coffee Day, was not reachable since late Monday, his flagship entity Coffee Day Enterprises said in a regulatory filing.

He had been in his car on the outskirts of Mangalore when he asked his driver to stop his car at a spot close to the Netravati river.

"He told the driver to go ahead and stop and that he would come walking," a senior police officer told BBC Hindi.

The driver raised the alarm when Mr Siddhartha did not return.

Calls to his number had indicated his mobile phone was switched off, police say.

Mangalore Commissioner of Police Sandeep Patil said two teams had been dispatched to search the river.

Mr Siddhartha's Cafe Coffee Day franchise is India's largest coffee chain. It has about 1750 cafes across the country and some outlets in countries like Malaysia, Nepal and Egypt.

However, local media reports said that its rate of expansion had slowed down significantly over the last two years in the face of increasing competition.

The company had also shut down several small outlets.

Indian media reports last month indicated that Mr Siddhartha was in talks with Coca-Cola to sell a significant stake of his company, though this was not confirmed by either company.

Mr Siddhartha is the son-in-law of SM Krishna, who is a former chief minister of the southern state of Karnataka.

- Reuters / BBC