Founder of India's 'Starbucks' Found Dead in River

VG Siddhartha disappeared near bridge
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 31, 2019 2:44 AM CDT
Body of Coffee Chain Owner Found in River
An Indian woman exits a Cafe Coffee Day outlet in Bangalore, India, Wednesday, July 31, 2019.   (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Fishermen found the body of an Indian coffee shop chain owner in a river on Wednesday, two days after he disappeared, police said. The body of Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha has been identified, police Commissioner Sandeep Patel said. He didn't give other details. An autopsy was being conducted and the cause of death was not disclosed, the AP reports. Siddhartha, 60, had left Bangalore on Monday and left his car near a bridge in Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka state. He told his driver to wait, saying he was going for a walk near the bridge. When he didn't return for two hours, the driver notified police, police officer Sasikant Senthil said.

"I saw a body floating while I was fishing and then I informed the police. I participated in the rescue operation," the New Delhi Television news channel quoted Rithesh, a fisherman, as saying. Siddhartha leaves behind a coffee shop chain with more than 1,500 stores across India with revenue of $630 million in 2017-18. It also has outlets in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Malaysia, according to the chain's website. Police were investigating a letter that appeared on social media in which Siddhartha alleged he was facing harassment from tax authorities that caused a serious liquidity crunch. The letter purportedly written by him also said that he failed to create the right profitable business model despite his best efforts and was facing pressure after borrowing a large sum of money from a friend to buy back shares.

(More India stories.)

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