VG Siddhartha, the founder of India's largest Coffee chain Café Coffee Day, who also owns Asia's single-largest coffee estate, is missing since Monday evening. In a letter, reportedly written by Siddhartha, he blames “serious liquidity crunch”, “harassment from the previous DG income tax” and “pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares” for his situation.
"...I have failed to create the right profitable business model despite my best efforts," Siddhartha says in the letter addressed to "our Board of Directors and Coffee day family."
The CCD founder further writes: "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 partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend."
He further added that “tremendous pressure from other lenders” led him to succumb to the situation. In the letter, Siddhartha also said that the previous DG in the Income Tax department was harassing him over attaching CCD shares “on two separate occasions to block our Mindtree deal and then taking position of our Coffee Day sahres, although the revised return have been filed by us.”
“This was very unfair and has led to a serious liquidity crunch," he added.
The letter, written before he went missing, was reportedly left for his family. Siddhartha goes on to add, “I sincerely request each of you to be strong and to continue to run these businesses with a new management. I am solely responsible for all mistakes. 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.”
Before ending the letter, Siddhartha asks for forgiveness and says, “My intention was never to cheat or mislead anybody, I have failed as an entrepreneur. This is my sincere submission, I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me.”
“I have enclosed a list of our assets and tentative value of each asset. As seen below our assets outweigh our liabilities and can help repay everybody,” Siddhartha concludes.
The letter was unofficially released to the media on Tuesday. The News Minute, however, reported that CCD employees and PRO have not yet confirmed whether the letter is genuine.
Siddhartha, the son-in-law of former Union external affairs minister SM Krishna, was headed for Sakaleshpur but on the way he had asked his driver to go towards Mangaluru, according to the police.
On reaching a bridge over the Netravati river in the Kotepura area in Dakshina Kannada district, he got down from the car and told his driver that he was going for a walk.
"He (Siddhartha) asked the driver to wait till his arrival. When he did not return even after two hours, the driver approached the police and lodged a missing complaint," deputy commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district Senthil Sasikant Senthil told PTI.
More than 200 policemen and divers on about 25 boats were carrying out searches for him.
The deputy commissioner 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.
Updated Date: Jul 30, 2019 10:58:58 IST