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New Delhi: VG Siddhartha, founder of India’s largest coffee chain Café Coffee Day who also owns Asia’s single-largest coffee estate, has reportedly gone missing near Mangaluru since Monday evening.

Siddhartha, who is the son-in-law of former Karnataka Chief Minister and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader SM Krishna, had reportedly got off from his car while talking over the phone near a bridge on Netharavathi River around 6.30 PM near Mangaluru and did not return even after an hour.

The details of the FIR filed by the driver stated that he was driving an Innova since morning when they left from Siddhartha’s Bangalore residence. They were headed back home by noon when he asked the driver to take a detour towards Sakleshpur and then to Mangaluru. Once they reached Mangaluru, the coffee chain founder asked him to halt at a bridge and wait on the other side of it. However, until 8 PM, Siddhartha did not return and could not be traced even on call.

Panic-struck, the driver searched for him around the area but could not spot him anywhere. As a result, the driver alerted Siddhartha’s family members who informed the police. A massive search has been launched by the Dakshina Kannada police to trace the businessman.

Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa and Congress leader DK Shivakumar and BL Shankar visited the former Karnataka CM’s residence in Bengaluru this morning following his son’s disappearance.

Congress leader from Ullal, UT Abdul Khader, also joined the search operations on inflatable boats on Tuesday morning.

“I was shocked when I got the news. Police Commissioner and DC have ordered a search operation, it is being carried out with support from locals,” Khader told news agency ANI. 

Siddhartha belongs to a coffee-growing family in Chikkamagaluru who made it big founding one of India’s most popular cafes, Café Coffee Day, in the mid-1990s. Besides the coffee chain, Siddhartha also founded a hospitality chain that runs the seven-star resort Serai and Cicada.

Siddhartha’s companies employ more than 10,000 people across India and internationally as well. He was recently in the news for being in talks with Coca-Cola to sell Café Coffee Day.