VG Siddhartha, Founder of the popular cafeteria, Cafe Coffee Day and son-in-law of former Karnataka Chief Minister SM Krishna has gone missing from a bridge near Mangaluru in Karnataka, the police say. Lastly, he was sighted on the bridge over the Netravati river in the coastal town on Monday evening, according to the police.
Mr. Siddhartha's driver Basavaraj Patil said in his statement to the police that they were going to Sakleshpur from Bengaluru in a Toyota Innova, a 220 km ride when the businessman asked him to turn towards Mangaluru.
As they reached a bridge near Mangaluru, the businessman asked the driver to stop the car and he got down from the vehicle. Patil, in the statement, said Siddhartha asked him to drive towards the second end of the bridge and wait there.
"He said he will walk and come... At 8 pm (an hour later) I called him but his phone was (switched) off. Then I called his son and he said he'll call him too. Later I filed a complaint", said Patil, who has been serving the businessman for three years.
Mangaluru Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil said they are checking who all Siddhartha contacted to, the last time. "A dog squad was used on the bridge. It stopped at a point in the middle of the bridge. Local fishermen are helping in the search", Patil said.
Karnataka BJP leader Jnanendra told reporters that Mr. Siddhartha's father is not well and is in a hospital in Mysuru. Another state BJP leader, Shobha Karandlaje, has written to the center asking for help and assistance to trace the missing businessman.
"I am very shocked that our friend, a very good man, who has given thousands of jobs, is missing since yesterday night. All sorts of possibilities are there - might have got into another car, accidentally fell into the water. We pray for his safety", said former Congress minister UT Khader, who went to the bridge over the Netravati river to witness the search operation.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa visited the home of BJP leader SM Krishna, at Bengaluru, this morning. Top leaders DK Shivakumar and BL Shankar from Mr. Krishna's former party, the Congress, also visited him. A huge number of leaders and well-wishers have also gathered at his home.