Siddhartha had more assets than liabilities: CM Yediyurappa
Siddhartha cremated in family estate
- Published 1.08.19, 2:01 AM
- Updated 1.08.19, 2:03 AM
- 3 mins read
The mortal remains of Café Coffee Day founder V.G. Siddhartha were cremated amid tearful scenes at the family estate in Chikmagalur near Mangalore on Wednesday.
Informed by the fishermen who brought the body to shore in Hoige Bazaar in the coastal town, police shifted it to Wenlock Hospital in Mangalore. The body was identified by some relatives and friends of Siddhartha. After the post-mortem, the mortal remains were taken to Chikmagalur.
The funeral was held at his estate in Chethanahally in Chikmagalur where thousands of people had gathered. Siddhartha , 59, is survived by wife Malavika and sons Amarthya and Ishaan.
Amarthya lit the funeral pyre after the last rites were performed according to the traditions of the Vokkaliga community. Former chief minister S.M. Krishna, father-in-law of Siddhartha, and his wife Prema fought hard to control their emotions.
A police officer said: “Everything points to suicide, but nothing can be ruled out until the investigation is over.”
Chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Congress leaders D.K. Shivakumar and U.T. Khader were among those who paid their last respects to Siddhartha when the body was kept for public viewing in Mudigere, a town in Chikmagalur, some 250km from Bangalore.
The family owned over 350 acres of coffee estate in Chikmagalur and had been in the business for over 140 years.
“I have no words to comfort the family,” Yediyurappa said. “He had more assets than liabilities.”
The coffee tycoon had estimated the valuation of the group’s assets at Rs 17,590 crore in his last letter and had claimed that the sum “outweighed” the liabilities.
Siddhartha was one of the main employers of the state and buyer of coffee beans from farmers in Karnataka.
B.S. Jairam, president of Karnataka Growers’ Federation and a coffee planter from Chikmagalur, recalled Siddhartha’s contribution in popularising a coffee-drinking culture across the country.
“From an annual national consumption of 30,000-40,000 tonnes before he started Café Coffee Day in 1996, it has now grown to 1.2 lakh tonnes. I am sure much of it is due to the efforts of Siddhartha whom I have known for years,” he told The Telegraph from the funeral site.
“Most coffee planters, including me, have traditionally sold our beans to Siddhartha’s company (Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company). It’s a massive loss to the coffee growers in Karnataka,” said Jairam.
Some reports have said that Siddhartha — who had landed in a financial mess — had been in talks with Coca-Cola to sell the company for $1.45 billion. This has not been officially confirmed and it is not known how these discussions will play out over the next few months.
Siddhartha did his graduation at Mangalore’s St. Aloysius College whose alumni include banker K.V. Kamath, Booker Prize winning writer Aravind Adiga, the late defence minister George Fernandes and Narayana Health founder Devi Prasad Shetty.
ALL FOUR SIGNS FROM SAME PERSON
The four signatures attributed to V.G. Siddhartha, the founder of Café Coffee Day, contain “real natural variations” and originate from the same person, two forensic handwriting analysts told The Telegraph after scrutinising the images.
The analysts said they believed the four signatures came from the same person because they lack signs of broken strokes, shaky strokes, tremors, unnatural pen pauses or pen lifts in the middle of strokes found in forged signatures.
“There are no broken strokes, no line quality defects, all strokes are spontaneous with flying jumping and horizontal action,” said Vindhya Misra, a New Delhi-based handwriting analyst who has in various cases provided testimony to courts in India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore and the UK.
“The four signatures are from the same person,” he said.
Signatures 1 and 2 appear written in different situations in haste or a careless manner, while signatures 3 and 4 show real natural variations but are not written in haste, Misra said.
B.N. Phaneendar, a Bangalore-based forensic handwriting analyst, said the questioned signature has a permissible degree of natural variations.
“The letter ‘g’ which is executed similar to the letter ‘l’ is not observed in the questioned signature but observed in the three known signatures,” said Phaneendar, who has provided testimony to various courts in Karnataka.
“This can be explained if a person is careless about his signature or in a hurry or has anxiety or less care about execution of certain characters in the signature,” he said.
G. S. Mudur in New Delhi