Hours before Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha's body was found, industrialist Anand Mahindra had a word of caution for entrepreneurs whose businesses may not have taken off.
Reacting to the news of the coffee baron's disappearance, Anand Mahindra tweeted he did not know him personally and that he did not know about Mr Siddhartha's financial circumstances. Two days before his disappearance, Mr Siddhartha had reportedly written a letter to his employees that revealed he was in deep debt.
The chairman of Mahindra Group said entrepreneurs should not let their business failure to destroy their self-esteem.
I did not know him & have no knowledge of his financial circumstances. I only know that entrepreneurs must not allow business failure to destroy their self-esteem. That will bring about the death of entrepreneurship.— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) July 30, 2019
VG Siddhartha, the founder of India's largest coffee chain, was found dead on Wednesday morning, 36 hours after he went missing from a bridge near Mangaluru in Karnataka. His body was washed ashore the Netravati river early Wednesday morning.
Mr Siddhartha, 60, had reportedly written a letter to board members and employees of Cafe Coffee Day. The letter - accessed by news agency ANI - alleges harassment by an income tax officer and expresses regret for not being able to create "the right profitable business".
He also said that he was under "tremendous pressure" from one of "the private equity partners".
Mr Siddhartha's family has been in the coffee business for more than 130 years.
On taking it over, he set up the Cafe Coffee Day chain in 1996 and also became one of the world's biggest coffee traders, as well the as owner of Asia's biggest coffee plantation.
He owned about 30,000 acres of plantations and his Amalgamated Bean Company (ABC) is India's largest exporter of green coffee.
Cafe Coffee Day has more than 1,700 stores, mainly in India, but also in Malaysia, Egypt, Czech Republic and Austria. US giant Starbucks has so far managed to open just over 150 stores in India.
VG Siddhartha's offices were raided by income tax officers in September 2017. He was among the country's largest exporters of coffee bean. His family has been in the coffee-growing business for more than 130 years, according to his profile page on the website of consultancy firm Mindtree, where he was a non-executive director.
The Income Tax Department on Tuesday denied charges of harassment during its probe against Mr Siddhartha as it pointed out that his available signature was different from that on a letter being circulated on social media.
It said the businessman had admitted holding stash income after raids were conducted against him.