VG Siddhartha, the founder-owner of the popular chain Cafe Coffee Day, was reported missing from Mangaluru in Karnataka on Monday, The News Minute reported. Siddhartha is the son-in-law of former Karnataka Chief Minister SM Krishna.
Siddhartha’s driver told the police that they had left from Bengaluru to Mangaluru on Monday night, according to Mangaluru Commissioner Sandeep Patil. “They were crossing National Highway 66 and the driver was asked to stop the car at the bridge over Netravati River in Ullal,” Patil said. “He was talking on his mobile phone when he asked his driver to stop the car and is said to have walked away from the car. He told his driver he would be back soon and that was the last time his driver saw him.”
Unidentified police officials said Siddhartha had informed his family that he was going to Sakleshpur in Hassan district while leaving Bengaluru. Once he left home, he allegedly told his driver to head towards Mangaluru, according to The News Minute.
Teams are searching the Netravati River for Siddhartha, according to ANI. More than 200 policemen and divers on 25 boats were searching for him, PTI reported. Dakshina Kannada district Deputy Commissioner Senthil Sasikant Senthil said sniffer dogs were also assisting in the search operation.
Congress MLA UT Khadar, who represents Mangaluru, said the police commissioner and deputy commissioner ordered a search operation and locals are assisting the police.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Congress leaders DK Shivakumar and BL Shankar visited SM Krishna at his residence in Bengaluru following reports of Siddhartha going missing, according to ANI. Krishna resigned as a member of the Congress in January 2017, and joined the BJP in March that year.
Bharatiya Janata Party MP Shobha Karandlaje met Home Minister Amit Shah and submitted a letter seeking the central government’s help to find Siddhartha, ANI reported. Karandlaje also wrote to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh making a similar request.
In September 2017, Income Tax Department had conducted raids at the offices and homes of Siddhartha. Officials were looking for evidence to prove allegations of tax evasion against him. Documents showing Rs 650 crore of concealed income were reportedly seized during the search operations.