India

VG Siddhartha: Cafe Coffee Day owner goes missing near river

VG Siddhartha, founder-owner, Chairman and MD of Coffee Day Enterprises Limited, poses for a profile shoot on September 26, 2015 in New Delhi, India Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption VG Siddhartha had told his driver he was going for a walk, say police

A search is under way for the founder and owner of popular Indian chain Cafe Coffee Day, who has gone missing in the southern city of Mangalore, police say.

VG Siddhartha had been in his car on the outskirts of Mangalore when he asked his driver to stop his car at a spot close to the Netravati river.

"He told the driver to go ahead and stop and that he would come walking," a senior police officer told BBC Hindi.

The driver raised the alarm when Mr Siddhartha did not return.

Calls to his number had indicated his mobile phone was switched off, police say.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cafe Coffee Day is the largest coffee chain in India

Mangalore Commissioner of Police Sandeep Patil said two teams had been dispatched to search the river.

Mr Siddhartha's Cafe Coffee Day franchise is India's largest coffee chain. It has about 1,750 cafes across the country and some outlets in countries like Malaysia, Nepal and Egypt.

However, local media reports said that its rate of expansion had slowed down significantly over the last two years in the face of increasing competition.

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Media captionIndia's largest coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day is floating on the stock market in an attempt to tap into the nation's growing taste for caffeine

The company had also shut down several small outlets.

Indian media reports last month indicated that Mr Siddhartha was in talks with Coca-Cola to sell a significant stake of his company, though this was not confirmed by either company.

Mr Siddhartha is the son-in-law of SM Krishna, who is a former chief minister of the southern state of Karnataka.

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