The body of Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha was found this morning, 36 hours after he went missing from a bridge near river Netravati near Mangaluru in Karnataka. The body had washed ashore the Netravati River near Ullal in Mangaluru and was found by fishermen at around 6:30 this morning.
A massive search operation involving multiple agencies was on since Monday evening, after Siddhartha went missing.
"Two fishermen found Siddhartha's body early this morning about 500 metres away from the road bridge from where he is alleged to have jumped into the river on Monday night," Mangaluru Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil told reporters.
Siddhartha is survived by his wife Malavika Hegde and two sons.
The body has been moved to a hospital in Mangaluru. The police said his body will be handed over to the family after legal formalities are completed.
"I saw a body floating while I was fishing and then, I informed the police. I participated in the rescue operations with the district administration yesterday as well," fisherman Rithesh told reporters.
The Mangaluru police chief said an investigation was underway to determine whether Siddhartha took his own life.
Politicians from across party lines went to SM Krishna's home yesterday to give moral support to the family and condoled his son-in-law's death today.
"I am deeply shocked and hurt by the demise of former chief minister S M Krishna's son-in-law and Cafe Coffee Day founder Siddhartha. May God give strength to his family and may his soul rest in peace. Om shanti," Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa tweeted in Kannada.
VG Siddhartha, the founder of India's largest coffee chain, was last seen on the bridge over the Netravati River in the coastal town on Monday evening, according to the police. In his statement to the police, Siddhartha's driver Basavaraj Patil said they were going to Sakleshpur from Bengaluru in a Toyota Innova - a 220-km drive - when the businessman asked him to turn towards Mangaluru.
As they approached a bridge near Mangaluru, the businessman asked his driver to stop the car and got off. Patil, in the statement, said Siddhartha asked him to drive towards the other end of the bridge and wait there.
VG Siddhartha's offices were raided by income tax officers in September 2017. He was among the country's largest exporters of coffee bean. His family has been in the coffee-growing business for more than 130 years, according to his profile page on the website of consultancy firm Mindtree, where he was a non-executive director.
Calling for a fair probe into his death, senior Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the letter reportedly written by Siddhartha "discussed about tax terrorism, which is an ugly face of politically motivated institutions".