Founder-owner of popular coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day, VG Siddhartha has gone missing from Mangaluru and was spotted last on Monday evening at the Netravati Bridge where he had gone for a stroll, a senior Karnataka police officer said on Tuesday.
The 58-year-old businessman, son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister and former external affairs minister S M Krishna has been untraceable since last evening.
According to Sandeep Patil, commissioner of police, Mangalore, Siddhartha had left Bengaluru yesterday and was travelling to Sakleshpur.
“On reaching Netravati Bridge, he got down from the car and asked his driver to move ahead and wait as he wanted to take a stroll,” Patil said adding that the police was informed after he went missing.
A search operation launched by police is underway and dog squad and inflatable boats have been deployed in the search.
“We used the dog squad and it stopped at the middle of the bridge. We are taking help of the local fisherman to search in the river. Everyone that he had spoken last is being contacted for relevant information”, the police commissioner said.
According to the driver, Siddhartha had left Bangalore at 11 am on Monday and kept changing his destination from Chikkamangaluru to Hassan to Sakleshpur and finally Mangalore.
Basavaraj who was driving Siddhartha in Innova car before he went missing said, “I have been working for him for the past three years. On Monday I reported for duty from his residence at 8 am and drove him to his Vittal Mallya office and returned home at 11 am. At 12:30 he asked me to drive towards Sakleshpur and then later he asked me to drive to towards Mangalore and just before we were about to enter the Mangalore circle, he asked me to take a left because he wanted to visit some site.”
“When we reached the Kerala highway, he asked me to stop at the bridge and drop him there. I was told to wait on the other end. At 8 pm I called him but his phone was switched off. Then I called up his son, who also tried calling him. I later filed a complaint after we couldn’t trace him”, the driver added.
The place where Siddhartha has been reported is just two to three kilometres from the sea.
Meanwhile, Congress leader UT Khadar who arrived reached the site of the search operation said, “I was shocked when I got the news. Police Commissioner and DC have ordered a search operation, it is being carried out with support from locals.”
Senior politician including state chief minister BS Yediyurappa and Congress leader DK Shivakumar rushed to SM Krishna residence early this morning in Bengaluru.
The missing businessman is married to Krishna’s first daughter Malavika and the couple has two sons.