Bengaluru: Malavika Hegde, the wife of Cafe Coffee Day founder VG Siddhartha Hegde, whose body was recovered on Wednesday, two days after he went missing, maybe appointed as chairperson & managing director of Coffee Day Enterprises. (Also read: On VG Siddhartha’s Death, Anand Mahindra Has This Advice For Entrepreneurs)
A top company source told a daily, “She is already on the board of the company and the board will have to discuss the possibility of delegating to her bigger responsibilities. But all these things can happen only when she recovers from her personal trauma.”
The board has already put in place SV Ranganath as the interim chairman and is set to meet again on August 8.
Meanwhile, Siddhartha’s letter has come under the scanner. After its meeting, the board said, “While the authenticity of the letter is unverified and it is unclear whether these statements pertain to the Company or the personal holdings of VG Siddhartha, the Board took serious note of the same and resolved to thoroughly investigate this matter,”
Like the police, the company is also yet to establish the authenticity of the letter. “It is unclear whether these statements pertain to the company or the personal holdings of Mr VG Siddhartha,” it said.
For investigation as well, Siddhartha’s letter gains legal significance. In the letter, purportedly written by him, he blamed his financial troubles and “harassment” on the Income Tax Department for “succumbing to the situation”. Once its veracity has been checked, it will have to be treated as a dying declaration or suicide note, said legal experts and senior police officials.
Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order), Karnataka, Kamal Pant, told a daily, “We have recovered the letter from his family members. We will take necessary action further.”
Sources said a clerk in Siddhartha’s office handed over the letter to his immediate family hours after he went missing on Monday night. It had reportedly been dictated to the clerk a few weeks ago and he called her on Monday evening, asking her to release it to over 200 people, including CCD employees, investors and media, on Tuesday morning.
“Even if the letter was written a few weeks ago, his call to the clerk asking her to release it as his statement the next day indicates it was his dying declaration,” said a senior criminal lawyer.
A senior police official also said that a case of abetment could be considered if the probe revealed that some factors pushed him to take his life.
An officer of the income tax department has even claimed that the sign on the letter does not match that of Siddhartha’s on the annual returns with them. “The investigating officer would be sending the said letter for forensic examination, which would verify the signature on the letter,” Pant said. The police would also record the statement of the clerk and corroborate it with Siddhartha’s mobile call records, sources said.