Body of Indian coffee tycoon discovered in river

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The body of an Indian coffee tycoon has been found in a river by fishermen two days after his disappearance.

Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha left his car near a bridge in the Dakshina Kannada district on Monday and had not been seen since.

The 60-year-old’s body was identified in Karnataka state, police commissioner Sandeep Patel said.

Image: A post-mortem has been conducted but authorities have not given a cause of death

Mr Siddhartha had told his driver to wait, saying he was going for a walk near the bridge, but he had still not returned after two hours.

A major hunt was launched for the businessman, who was one of India’s richest men.

A local fisherman named Rithesh told the New Delhi Television news channel he spotted the body floating while fishing in the Netravati river.

Rithesh also said he helped in the recovery operation.

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Coffee Day has more than 1,500 shops across India, as well as outlets in Austria, Czech Republic and Malaysia.

Mr Siddhartha had built up the business since opening his first shop in 1996.

Police are investigating an apparent suicide letter allegedly written by Mr Siddhartha which said he was being harassed by tax authorities and that he “gave up”.

It blamed tax authority decisions for causing a serious liquidity crunch.

The body of VG Siddhartha was taken to his hometown by ambulance

Image: The body of VG Siddhartha was taken to his hometown by ambulance

The letter, which was posted on social media, said he had failed to create a profitable business model despite his best efforts and he was under pressure after borrowing a large sum of money from a friend to buy back shares.

The authenticity of the letter has not been verified.

The Indian government’s income tax department issued a statement saying Mr Siddhartha had failed to disclose some income and stressed that its actions were normal.

Shares in the coffee chain plummeted to an all-time low after news of his death surfaced.

A post-mortem has been conducted but authorities have not said whether they are treating his death as suicide or foul play.

The businessman’s body was taken by ambulance to his hometown of Chikmagalur, where the last rites will take place.

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