Siddhartha's disappearance: Police leaves for Bengaluru

(AFP Photo)

As mystery shrouds Cafe Coffee Day founder V G Siddhartha's disappearance, Mangaluru Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil Tuesday said a police team has left for Bengaluru to conduct an inquiry and question office staff and relatives. Asked about the letter purportedly written by Siddhartha to the Board of Directors, the commissioner told reporters "Siddhartha's family gave us the letter, so it has to be genuine.

We are inquiring into its contents also, for which a team has gone to Bengaluru," Patil said as the search for the businessman continued.

Patil said the team that has gone to Bengaluru will conduct an inquiry of the office staff and relatives and gather all information.

"A detailed technical investigation is also going on," he said. Siddhartha had left from Bengaluru to Sakleshpur in Hassan district on Monday afternoon, but he asked his driver to turn towards Mangaluru on the way, according to police.

He was last seen near a bridge on Netravati river in Dakshina Kannada district on Monday night. He had told his driver he was going for a walk near the bridge, police said. "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 earlier said. Patil said the police were questioning a fisherman who claimed that he saw someone jumping from the bridge.

Search operations were on at the place identified by the fisherman, he said.

Call Detail Records were also under scrutiny, Patil added.

In the unverified letter, widely circulated in the social media, Siddhartha alleged there was a lot of harassment from the previous DG of the Income Tax Department in the form of attaching "our shares on two separate occasions to block our Mindtree deal and then taking position of our Coffee Day shares, although revised returns have been filed by us (sic)". "This was very unfair and has led to a serious liquidity crunch," the letter, bearing a purported signature of Siddhartha, said. The department has refuted the charges. "I have failed as an entrepreneur." "...I have failed to create the right profitable business model despite my best efforts," Siddhartha, who built the coffee empire over the last 37 years, said in the letter.

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