VG Siddhartha, the founder of India's largest coffee chain Cafe Coffee Day, who has gone missing from Monday evening, blamed "pressure from one of the private equity partners", "pressure from other lenders", "harassment from the previous DG income tax" and "serious liquidity crunch" for his 'failure' in a letter reportedly written by him recently.
In the letter dated July 27, Siddhartha said he failed as an entrepreneur after 37 years of a strong commitment to hardwork.
In the letter, Siddhartha said that he gave up as he could not take pressure from one of the private equity partners.
"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," he wrote.
CCD is backed by KKR, which owns a 6.07 percent stake in the company, Rivendell PE, which owns 10.61 percent and Affirma Capital, which owns 5.67 percent.
"We have seen the statement that Coffee Day Enterprises has made to the stock exchanges. We are deeply saddened by the developments and our thoughts are with his family at this time. We believe in VG Siddhartha and had invested in the company about 9 years ago. We sold approximately 4.25 percent (of our total holding of approximately 10.3 percent in the company) in February, 2018 on the stock exchange and have not sold any shares before or after," a KKR spokesperson said.
Siddhartha, in the letter, added that 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, he claimed, led to a serious liquidity crunch.
Besides, he alleged that tremendous pressure from other lenders also led to him succumbing to the situation.
However, concluding the letter, he said that every financial transaction was his responsibility and that he was solely responsible for his mistakes.
"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," he wrote.
Seeking forgiveness from the "Coffee Day family", he said, "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."
According to reports, Siddhartha got off from his car near a bridge across the river Nethravathi near Mangalore, about 375 KMs from Bengaluru, on Monday but did not return.
The Dakshina Kannada police have launched a massive search for him. Helicopters and coast guards have been summoned, and over 200 people are searching for him.
Siddhartha was in news recently for his stake in software services firm Mindtree. He started investing in Mindtree over a decade ago and gradually accumulated 20.41 percent stake in Mindtree until 2019.
On March 18, 2019, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) bought his entire stake for a price not exceeding Rs 3,269 crore.
First Published: IST