Income tax sleuths on Thursday conducted searches at the offices and home of V G Siddhartha, chairman and managing director of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd, in Bengaluru, Hassan and Chikkamagaluru.
Siddhartha is former chief minister S M Krishna’s son-in-law. After being in the Congress since 1971, Krishna quit the Congress in January this year and joined the BJP.
Searches began around 7 am and continued into the night at over 25 locations. They are likely to continue on Friday.
Locations searched in Bengaluru include the group’s head office at UB City on Vittal Mallya Road, Siddhartha’s house in Sadashivanagar, and his establishments at Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Bagamane Tech Park in C V Raman Nagar.
Siddhartha has invested in diverse businesses in India and abroad. Documents seized pertain to all businesses in which he has stakes, including hospitality, coffee plantation, and consultancy, sources said.
Coffee Day Enterprises manages The Serai Resorts in Chikkamgaluru, the global office of Cafe Coffee Day, also in Chikkamagaluru, and a curing centre in the neighbouring district of Hassan.
It also runs Way2Wealth, a financial services company, with offices in Chennai and Mumbai.
The searches on Siddhartha’s properties assume significance as Krishna’s rivals had alleged he joined the BJP, now in power at the Centre, to safeguard his son-in-law’s business empire.
The sleuths also conducted searches at two estates in Mudigere taluk, a residential school in Chikkamagaluru, and the Serai resorts.
According to S Ramesh, income tax joint commissioner, the department went looking for evidence of tax evasion.
DK Shivakumar angle
Income tax officials had conducted seizures at the office and residences of energy minister DK Shivakumar about a month ago.
They had seized documents from one of his personal assistants Rajanish, who also happened to work for Siddhartha. The documents prompted the searches, the sources disclosed.
Co-operating, says company
A statement from Siddhartha’s group said: “The Income Tax officials have visited our premises. Coffee Day Enterprises is a responsible corporate following all norms of corporate governance. We continue to comply with laws of land and will extend all co-operation with the concerned authority.”
Siddhartha hails from a family that owns a coffee empire spread over 10,000 acres in Chikkamagalur in Karnataka.
He is the founder-owner of the Cafe Coffee Day chain, India’s largest coffee retail chain. It had 1,530 outlets across 29 states in March 2015.
In coffee country...
Chikkamagaluru: About 10 tax officials visited the office of Coffee Day Global on K M Road here. Police stood guard at the entrances while the search was on.
Hassan: Two Innova cars arrived at ABC Coffee Curing, owned by the Coffee Day group, on Belur Road here.
Tax officials from the Mysuru division, assisted by their counterparts in Hassan, conducted searches amid police security.
The curing centre is one the oldest properties owned by Coffee Day.