The body of Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) founder VG Siddhartha was on Wednesday afternoon taken to Chattanahalli, his village, in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru district. The last rites would be performed at one of his coffee estates by evening, a family source said.
“The flower-decked cortege with his body in a glass-cased coffin was brought to the estate from Mangaluru after the autopsy at a state-run hospital,” the source told IANS on phone.
The coffee estate is 150 km from Mangaluru and 250 km northwest of Bengaluru in the biodiverse Western Ghats of the state. The body was taken to the Coffee Day Global Enterprises office in Chikkamgaluru town on way to the village.
“Hundreds of people, including women and elders from the surrounding towns and villages, thronged the estate in the Mudigeree taluk for the last glimpse of the coffee baron and pay homage to him,” the source said.
After two fishermen found the body floating in the backwaters of the Netravathi river earlier in the day, the police shifted the body to Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru for post-mortem. “The Siddhartha’s body was handed over to his family after the autopsy,” said the source.
Siddhartha’s father-in-law S.M. Krishna and mother-in-law Prema flew to Chikkamagaluru from Bengaluru, while other family members and relatives have also reached the estate for the last rites.
“As a holiday has been declared for the day in all the coffee estates of the district, hundreds of plantation workers and owners have come to pay their respects to Siddhartha, who generated thousands of direct and indirect jobs in his 12,000-acre coffee estates and 1,751 retail chain outlets across the country over the last two decades,” the source said.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa also flew from Bengaluru to attend the last rites and console the bereaved family members.
Siddhartha went missing on Monday night and was suspected to have committed suicide by jumping off the bridge.