The body of the founder and owner of India’s largest coffee chain, Cafe Coffee Day, has been found near a river on the outskirts of the southern city of Mangalore, police say.
Mr. Siddhartha was traveling to the southern city of Mangalore on Sunday evening when he asked his driver to stop the car on a bridge over the Netravati river on the outskirts of the city.
His driver told police that Mr. Siddhartha then got out of the car and told him he wanted to take a walk. He also instructed him to park the car further ahead.
When Mr. Siddhartha did not return after half an hour, the driver called his mobile phone – only to find the number switched off.
Alarmed, he informed the police who assembled two teams and searched the river on Sunday and Monday.
A fisherman found his body on Tuesday morning. The identity was confirmed by members of Mr. Siddhartha’s family after the body was taken to hospital.
The 59-year-old coffee tycoon, who has been described in local media as “soft-spoken” and “self-effacing”, was not fond of the limelight.
He was born to a family of coffee plantation owners, but his first company was an investment firm. He used the profits from it to enter the coffee business, according to the PTI news agency.
Cafe Coffee Day is India’s largest coffee franchise chain. It has about 1,750 cafes across the country and some international outlets including in Malaysia, Nepal and Egypt.
Mr. Siddhartha’s company, Coffee Day Enterprises Limited, held an emergency board meeting on Monday to discuss his absence. In a statement, it appealed for “the support and strength of all our stakeholders”.
In a note to the stock exchange, it said the company was “professionally managed and led by a competent business team” which would ensure the “continuity” of business.