Café Coffee Day is to India what Starbucks is to America, making the disappearance of the company's founder major news. The Wall Street Journal reports the last known sighting of VG Siddhartha was Monday night after he reportedly parted ways with his driver near a bridge over the Netravati river in Managlore. He was last seen on the bridge and his scent was traced to the middle of it and then lost, fueling speculation that he perhaps committed suicide. The river is being searched, and no note was found, but a letter dated Saturday that is said to be signed by Siddhartha touches on stressors caused by investors and tax officials and shoulders the blame for the company's debt load.
"I would like to say I gave it my all," the letter reads per CNN. "I am very sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in me." The Times of India reports the tax authority on Tuesday denied that it had been harassing the company during its investigation of it and disputed that the signature on the letter is Siddhartha's. Café Coffee Day's 1,700 locations in India make it the country's biggest chain; there are about 150 Starbucks in India. Shares of parent company Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd. plunged 20% on the news. (Read more India stories.)