KOTTAYAM l WEDNESDAY l JULY 31, 2019 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l CITY EDITION BORN INTO TRADITIONAL COFFEE PLANTERS FAMILY TAPAS RANJAN 20% FROM BANKING TO BRANDED COFFEE BIZ Born into a family of planters, V G Siddhartha, 58, dabbled in other businesses before starting branded coffee business He initially wanted to join the Indian Army but ended up working as an investment banker in Mumbai after completing his Master’s in Economics from Mangalore University. In 1984, he launched a venture capital firm, and began investing to buy coffee plantations. He set up Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Co Ltd, now called Coffee Day Global, in 1993. His family is said to own 15,000 acres of coffee estates COFFEE DAY SHARES DECLINED TO `154.05 APIECE ON BSE ON TUESDAY Corporate India shocked as Cafe Coffee Day promoter untraceable; his purported letter talks about tax terrorism echoing the sense of unease in doing business BLACK COFFEE DAY AS FOUNDER MISSING and Coast Guard swung into action. It is believed that SiddharV G Siddhartha, owner of India’s tha may have plunged into the largest coffee shop chain Cafe river between 7 pm and 8 pm Coffee Day, has been reported when there was a low tide. missing since Monday evening, According to the complaint, sparking off speculation that he Siddhartha left home in Bengalmay have ended his life by jump- uru around 8 am on Monday for ing off the Ullal bridge across office. Around 12.30 pm, he asked the Netravathi river at Mangalu- the driver to take him to Sakleshru. Massive search and rescue pur. When the car entered Manoperations, involving the Coast galuru city Siddhartha instruct, Guard, are underway. ed the driver to take a A dog squad lost Sid- Can’t rule out deviation towards Nadhartha’s scent in the tional Highway-66 sayfoul play, middle of the bridge, ing he wanted to visit a say police hinting he may have property . Police sources say jumped into the swirl“Just before the they are ing waters below. bridge, he asked me to Siddhartha is the investigating every stop the car and to wait possible angle, son-in-law of former at the other end of the and that they Union minister and exbridge,” Patil said in cannot rule out CM of Karnataka, S M the complaint. any foul play The driver told the Krishna. because only the police that Siddhartha The incident came to driver was present asked him to remain light around 8 pm on Monday when Sid- at the time of the in the car while he got incident | P6 off. Siddhartha was dhartha’s driver Basatalking on the phone varaj Patil called up the coffee tycoon’s son Amartya and started walking along the Hegde to inform Siddhartha had bridge. He met the driver at the been missing for quite some other end and asked him to wait time. Amartya alerted CCD’s for some more time as he wantPradeep Shetty in Mangaluru ed to take a stroll again. Howand a complaint was lodged at ever, he did not return to the car Kanakandi Town police station till 8 pm. The driver then called him on the phone but it was around 12.30 am. Massive search operations switched off. were launched by the police even (With inputs from Chetana as teams of local fishermen, NaBelagere) tional Disaster Response Force S H R E YA S H S @ Mangaluru INTERVIEW I-T dept turned the screws on his Mindtree stake sale SESA SEN AND BALA CHAUHAN @ New Delhi/Bengaluru THE purported letter by coffee tycoon V G Siddhartha claims he was under pressure from various quarters, including income tax department. In January 2019, the department had attached shares that he and Coffee Day Enterprises owned in Mindtree Ltd for a “tax demand”, a move which sparked worries that it would prevent them from selling their stake in the IT firm. However, the I-T department, on representation from Siddhartha, swapped the attachment of Mindtree shares for some 46.01 lakh shares of Coffee Day Enterprises held by him in February this year, allowing the sale of Mindtree shares to L&T, which was making a hostile takeover bid on the tech firm. The I-T department justified its attachments, pointing out that the investigations “arose from the search in the case of a prominent leader of Karnataka, based on the unearthing of credible evidence of financial trans- Decks cleared for nat’l highway devpt, state to bear 25 pc of land cost E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T’Puram ALEIDA GUEVARA KERALA’S YOUTH IDENTIFY WITH CHE’S THOUGHTS C he Guevara has been a trendy sentiment for a good number of youngsters in the state. The reason, his daughter Aleida Guevara believes, could be that they are able to relate and identify with the Argentinian revolutionary’s thoughts and actions. In an interview with Express Chief of Bureau Anil S, Aleida said: “If a person follows another’s ideology, it means he/she is able to understand the other person. I think people in Kerala are able to perceive and understand Che’s words and deeds, his independent views and thought processes.” Aleida, who has been in the state to attend the solidarity meetings held in commemoration with the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, added: “Revolution hasn’t ended yet. Whatever has been done so far is not fully satisfactory. Even as we listen to the old revolution, we keep moving forward. That’s why we call it revolution!” DECKS have been cleared finally for the national highway development in Kerala after the state and Central governments reached a consensus on Tuesday. As per that, the state would bear 25 per cent of the cost of land acquisition for highway at 45 metres. The decision was taken during a meeting between Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi. The huge cost involved in land acquisition has been a major hurdle for NH development. The state government had held a detailed discussion with the Union Minister last month in this regard and put forth suggestions to resolve the issues. The state’s proposals were agreed on Tuesday . Pinarayi later told mediapersons that the state government would initiate measures to widen the national highway into 45 metres. Soon after the Parliament session, officials from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and other concerned departments will reach the state and discuss the future course of action with chief secretary and other leading officials. Considering the difficulty in getting land, modifications might be made in the road design. Coastal waterway Kerala has urged the Centre to extend the Kovalam-Kollam-Kottapuram-Bekal coastal waterway, part of the west coast canal project, from 365 km to 696 km. Pinarayi held a discussion with Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh L Mandaviya on Tuesday P5 . 49% is the equity the state wants Centre to buy from its waterways Rail project set to get Cabinet nod T’Puram: The alignment for the semi-highspeed rail project connecting Kasaragod and T’Puram is likely to be discussed by the Cabinet on Thursday and given approval. The project envisages four-hour travel between the two points. FULL TEXT OF THE PURPORTED LETTER To our Board of Directors and Coffee Day family action done by CCD in a concealed manner”. Tax officials claimed that in the course of the probe, Siddhartha had “admitted” to an undisclosed income of `346.46 crore and `118.02 crore belonging to him and Coffee Day Enterprises, respectively. Of the total value the Mindtree stake sale, Siddhartha repaid loans of around `3,000 crore, and expenses related to transfer of `154 crore. The balance of `46 crore was paid towards the first instalment of advance tax of estimated MAT liability of nearly `300 crore, in the case of Cafe Day Enterprises Limited. The office of the Principal Chief Commissioner (PCC) of Income Tax, Karnataka & Goa also questioned the veracity of the letter, stating that the signature on the note did not “tally with V G Siddhartha’s signature as available in his annual reports. The authenticity of the note is not known”. The PCC’s statement added fuel to the mystery behind the sudden disappearance of the 58-year-old business tycoon. After 37 years, with strong commitment to hard work, having directly created 30,000 jobs in our companies and their subsidiaries, as well as another 20,000 jobs in technology company where I have been a large shareholder since its founding. I have failed to create the right profitable business model despite my best efforts. I would like to say I gave it my all. I am sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in me. I fought for a long time but today I gave up as I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares, a transaction I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend. Tremendous pressure from other lenders lead to me succumbing to the situation. There was a lot of harassment from the previous DG income tax in the form of attaching our shares on two separate occasions to block our Mindtree deal and then taking position of our Coffee Day shares, although the revised returns have been filed by us. This was very unfair and has led to a serious liquidity crunch. I sincerely request each of you to be strong and to continue running these businesses with a new management. I am solely responsible for all mistakes. Each financial transaction is my responsibility. My team, auditors and senior management are totally unaware of all my transactions. The law should hold me and only me accountable, as I have withheld this information from everybody including my family. My intention was never to cheat or mislead anybody. I have failed as an entrepreneur. This is my sincere submission. I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me. I have enclosed a list of our assets and tentative value of each asset. As seen below our assets outweigh our liabilities and can help repay everybody. Regards, VG Siddhartha R I C H A S H A R M A @ New Delhi PARLIAMENT on Monday passed the contentious triple talaq bill with 99 votes in its favour and 84 against it in the Rajya Sabha. What paved the way for its smooth passage was many NDA allies and foes choosing to abstain or walking out after registering their opposition to the criminality clause in the bill. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 that prohibits divorce by pronouncing talaq thrice in one go and making it a criminal offence, was put to vote after a five-hour debate. The Opposition’s motions for vetted by a select committee were rejected during voting. NDA allies JD (U) and AIADMK staged a walkout but TRS, BSP and TDP abstained from voting, thus bringing down the majority mark. The opposition failed to keep its flock together and some of its lawmakers failed to turn up for voting. Among the abstainers were five Congress MPs, including Vivek Tanka and Pratap Bajwa, NCP’s Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel and two from SP . During the term of the last Lok Sabha, the bill had been blocked twice in the Rajya Sabha as the NDA didn’t have the numbers. Deft floor management this time helped the BJP see it through. Lauding the passage of the bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “An archaic and medieval practice has finally been confined to dustbin of history! Parliament abolishes Triple Talaq and corrects a historical wrong done to Muslim women. This is a victory of gender justice and will further equality in society India rejoices today!” . The discussion to pass the bill saw the Opposition and HOW THE NUMBERS WERE MUSTERED SUPPORT: BJD; NDA minus JD(U) & AIADMK: 99 AGAINST: Cong, Trinamool, SP, CPM, CPI, AAP, NCP, DMK, RJD: 84 WALKOUT: AIADMK, JD(U), TDP: 19 OPPN ABSENTEES: Cong 5, NCP 2, SP 2, RJD 1, Trinamool 2, TDP 1 ABSTAIN: BSP, TRS, YSRCP: 12 the Treasury benches attacking each other. While the Opposition accused the government of targeting the Muslim community, the government said the Opposition was pandering to vote bank politics. Leader of Opposition Ghu- TO INVOKE LEADING LIGHTS A priest cleans a traditional lamp and puja vessels for Karkkidaka Vavu balitharpan at the Aluva Mahadeva Temple on Tuesday. Lakhs of people will remember their ancestors on Wednesday and perform rites at various locations across the state | ARUN ANGELA Young Test cricketer Shaw fails dope test, handed eight-month ban IN A huge embarrassment to the BCCI, Test cricketer Prithvi Shaw was among three players who tested positive in various national events in February and March. The three tested positive for a stimulant (terbutaline), corticosteriod (Deflazacort) and diuretic and masking agent Aceta- Such a shocking and sad end to a quiet n unassuming pioneer who started the coffee cafes business ahead of Starbucks in India Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and MD of Biocon We are deeply saddened... We believe in VG Siddhartha and had invested in the company about nine years ago PE major KKR, which has 6% in CCD V G Siddhartha, CMD of Coffee Day Enterprises, is not reachable since yesterday evening. We are taking the help of authorities CCD in a regulatory filing INSIDE CCD SITTING ON A PILE OF DEBT I P13 A LOT HAPPENED OVER COFFEE I P13 COFFEE DAY STOCK TUMBLES I P13 DOPE SHAME zolamide. They have slapped an eight-month suspension on Shaw, which has been backdated to March. Interestingly, Prithvi Shaw featured in IPL for Delhi Capitals even after his urine sample was collected during Mumbai’s Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 match against Punjab on February 22. He also featured in the T20 Mumbai League in June, where D K Shivakumar, Congress leader Parliament passes triple talaq bill P5 V E N K ATA K R I S H N A B @ Chennai It’s unbelievable... I find this utterly fishy and urge that a thorough investigation be conducted into this matter he was adjudged Man of the Series. Though the samples returned positive earlier, why it took so long for the BCCI to decide on the fate of the three cricketers raises eyebrows. The Cricket is my life and there is no bigger pride for than playing for India and Mumbai. I will come out of this faster and stronger — Prithvi Shaw delay allowed them to play in almost all domestic tournaments. It also raises serious questions over IPL’s rules. Also, the ban comes into force during off-season. Shaw made his debut for India only last October, just months after leading the Under-19 team to the World Cup title. Since his debut, there have been issues with his lifestyle, and even Sachin Tendulkar had reportedly called on the player to sort it out. Another shocking revelation was the positive test returned by a 17-year-old cricketer in an U-19 Cooch Behar Trophy match. He tested positive for a masking agent Acetazolamide, a diuretic The other case is of U-23 cricketer Akshay Dullarwar (22, Vidarbha). P15 lam Nabi Azad said they were all for women empowerment but oppose the provision to criminalise triple talaq. “The cat has come out of the bag. There is no provision of protection of Muslim women, subsistence and provisions to take care of minors. The only idea is to put them (Muslim men) behind the bars so that the family is stuck in legal tussle,” Azad charged. In his reply to the debate, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government tried to keep the legislation as straight as possible with provisions of getting bail. “This issue should not be seen through a political prism,” said Prasad while citing jail terms in anti-dowry law and for Hindu men marrying for the second time without divorcing the first wife to justify the jail term of three years in the case of triple talaq. P9 EXPRESS READ Binoy gives blood samples for DNA test T’Puram: Binoy Kodiyeri gave his blood sample for a DNA test at a hospital in Mumbai on Tuesday in connection with the sexual harassment complaint against him. The Bombay High Court had asked him to give the sample and directed the test reports should be handed over to it in a sealed cover in two weeks. P6 Kerala Blasters co-owner held Kochi: Nimmagadda Prasad, a co-owner of Kerala Blasters, was reportedly arrested by the Serbia Police in Belgrade on Tuesday. The Andhra Pradesh-based businessman, who had bought the club’s shares in 2016, was arrested following a complaint filed by a Ras Al Khaimah group regarding a project in which it holds stake. P15
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