Coffee baron VG Siddhartha's body has been finally found in the backwaters of the Netravati river. After a 36-hour search operation, local fishermen spotted his body floating in the river at Hogie Bazar near Ice Plant around 6.50 am on Wednesday morning when they were returning from fishing.
"The two fishermen Basava and Sarathi who were also involved in the search operations till late in the night along with one more fisherman had gone fishing in the morning and while returning found Siddhartha's body floating on the water," said a police source.
The area comes under Mangaluru south police station limits. Police officials rushed to the spot and based on the description of his clothes provided by Siddhartha's driver, Basavaraj Patil, the man who saw him last on Monday night, the police confirmed that it was his body.
It was then shifted to Wenlock hospital for autopsy. Dr Rajeshwari Devi H R, District Surgeon and Government Hospital Superintendent, said, "Postmortem has been conducted. I cannot disclose much on what happened till the histopathology reports come"
The autopsy was conducted at the Wenlock hospital by Dr Rashmi KS and Dr Prateek Rastogi. The body was briefly kept for public viewing before the body left Mangaluru. The body will be carried to Chetanahalli estate in Mudigere. A police official from Kankanady police station said a gold ring, smart watch and a mobile phone was recovered
Siddhartha's friends and some employees of Cafe Coffee Day came to pay their respects to the man who introduced South India's coffee to the world. Speaking to TNIE, his classmate till seventh standard Mohammed K P said, "I studied with him together in Cheekanahalli school till 7th standard. Our estates were next to each other's and he would always come to our house. we have played together, fought with each other. He was an extremely nice human being. Very humble and down to earth. He would speak with full affection whenever we met in any functions. It's a very sad day for all of us in Chickmagalur district."
ringeri MLA T D Raje Gowda told TNIE, "Siddhartha was very close to me and he has given jobs to thousands of people from this area."
After the postmortem, the body was handed over to relatives of Siddhartha. Raje Gowda said that the business tycoon's family has decided to cremate his body at his father's estate in Belur Taluk. The body will be taken to Chetanahalli Estate. A gold ring, smartwatch and mobile phone were also recovered by the police.
Meanwhile, the CCB team from Mangaluru is in Bengaluru and is questioning not only the CCD board members but also a few close associates and family members about Siddhartha's recent financial transactions and interactions with several politicians. The police may even question Congress leader D K Shivakumar as he had tweeted that Siddhartha had telephoned him on the 28th of July, a day before he went missing, and wanted to meet him.
"We will be questioning many people involved with Siddhartha's professional and personal life. The reasons for his death are not known yet. Though there is a purported letter sent by him, we are yet to investigate into it. We will also investigate if there were any personal reasons for his death," said a senior police officer.