Bengaluru: Coffee tycoon and founder of CCD, VG Siddhartha, whose body was fished out of a river two days after he went missing, was cremated at his estate in his home district of Chikkamagalur after hundreds of people paid a tearful adieu to him.
Siddhartha’s son Amartya lit the funeral pyre after the last rites were performed according to the traditions of the Vokkaliga community from which he hailed, in the presence of a large number of people. Poignant scenes were witnessed as Amartya broke down several times while performing the rituals.
A police official said “everything” points to suicide, but nothing can be ruled out until the investigation is over.
Siddhartha, whose chain of cafes helped make coffee a lifestyle beverage and brought in latte, cappuccino, Americano and espresso into the urban Indian vocabulary, was 59. He is survived by his wife Malavika and two sons, Amartya and Ishaan. His body was identified by his friends, said Dakshina Kannada district Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil.
The remains of Siddhartha were traced after 36 hours of intensive search operation with a letter allegedly written by him to the Board of Directors and employees of his company Coffee Day Enterprises, showing he was struggling with financial problems due to debt, taxes and share buybacks.
The search involved multiple agencies, which scoured the waters under a bridge across Nethravathi, where Siddhartha, founder of India’s largest coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day, was reportedly last seen on Monday night, officials said.
After the post-mortem at Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru, the body was taken to Siddhartha’s home district of Chikkamagalur.
A large number of people from within the coffee estate and neighbouring villages, whom Siddhartha had helped come up in life, thronged to pay their homage to the ‘coffee king’.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, his predecessor HD Kumaraswamy and several political leaders attended the funeral.
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