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Why entrepreneur CCD founder Siddhartha ended up the way he did



On Wednesday, the coffee square on Vittal Mallya road in Bengaluru where the headquarters of Café Coffee Day (CCD) stands wore a desolate look. It was a quiet day, interspersed by the occasional arrival or exit of grim-faced senior executives.

Things have been rather tense ever since news emerged early on Tuesday morning that CCD’s founder Chairman VG Siddhartha was missing, and may have killed himself unable to bear the financial pressure he was under. His body washed up on the shores of Nethravati river early on Wednesday morning.

How did things come to such a sorry pass for a man labelled “India’s coffee king?” While there are many explanations proffered, a cursory reading of the group’s holdings indicate that while assets exceed liabilities, the issue seems to be an old one which has plagued ambitious entrepreneurs— excessive borrowing.

As of 31 March 2019 Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd (the holding company) had a debt of Rs 6547.38 crore. It wasn’t clear whether this includes Rs 2100 crore the company would have received net of taxes and expense after it sold the 20.41% stake it held in MindTree Consulting to L & T for Rs 3269 crore. Company officials did not respond to a request for comment. According to publicly available data as of June 2019, 75.70% of the promoter group’s holdings in Coffee Day Enterprises were pledged to lenders.

Share prices of most companies have fallen in the past months and Coffee Day’s were no exception. In the last three months alone, the company’s shares have fallen nearly 46%.

Trading in the scrip was halted on Wednesday after it was breached the lower circuit after plunging 20% on Tuesday.

A former senior associate of Siddhartha who is now an investor in startups claimed that the latter was looking to raise funds, but with little success. With funds failing to materalise and unable to liqudate the vast real estate holdings of the group, Siddhartha was staring down the barrel.

In the 27th July letter addressed to the board, in which Siddhartha indicated that he was giving up, he provided an estimate of what he thought the various group businesses are worth. By his own assessment the group’s assets seem to be in the range of Rs 15,000 crores and liabilities, less than half of that.

However, unable to service the growing mountain of debt and to liquidate his assets in a tough market, he seems to have decided to end it all.

On Wednesday, the board in a notice to the stock exchanges announced the appointment of S V Ranganath as the interim chairman of the board and Nitin Bagmane as the COO. Ranganath is a retired senior IAS officer, a former chief secretary of Karnataka who is known to be close to Siddhartha’s father-in-law, former chief minister S M Krishna. He also was the head of Coffee Board for a brief while in the late 1990s. Ranganath was an independent director on the board of the company.

Coffee Day Enterprise Ltd also said that it had taken cognizance of the statements in the purported letter from Siddhartha relating to financial transactions outside the knowledge of the senior management, auditors and the board. It also said the authenticity of the letter is unverified and it is unclear whether these statements pertained to the company or the personal holdings of Siddhartha.

The board also indicated that it has the backing of the family of Siddhartha including his wife Malavika Hegde.

Naresh Malhotra a former CEO of Cafe Coffee Day expressed shock at the developments “He was a fine entrepreneur. Very rooted and built a globally known retail brand. I am sure the board will ensure that the legacy of Siddhartha is protected and strengthened.”



Delhi Police Arrest Three in Wine Shop Burglary Case, Including Bangladeshi National



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New Delhi: In a significant development, the Delhi police apprehended three individuals, including a Bangladeshi national, in connection with a recent burglary at a wine shop in Krishna Nagar police station area. The arrests were made in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, as confirmed by the police on Saturday.

The arrested individuals have been identified as Bilal, a Bangladeshi national, and Mohd Gazi Sheikh and Shaikh, both hailing from West Bengal, according to officials.

The incident came to light when the victim, Wasim Abbas Naqvi, a resident of Shahdara, Delhi, approached the police on April 25 to file a complaint. Naqvi reported that unidentified culprits had entered the wine shop by digging a hole in the roof, subsequently breaking the lock of the Almirah and stealing a significant amount of money.

Following the complaint, a case was registered under sections 457/380/411/34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Krishna Nagar police station, considering the gravity of the matter and the unusual method employed by the perpetrators.

A joint team comprising TST Shahdara and Crack Team Krishna Nagar was formed to investigate the case. The initial stage of the investigation involved the analysis of more than 50 CCTV footage obtained from the vicinity of the crime scene.

Preliminary findings from the CCTV footage revealed that three to four individuals had arrived at the wine shop on foot around 1:30 am. They accessed the vacant area above the store and executed the burglary by digging a hole. However, due to the late hour, no further leads were immediately apparent regarding their escape route.

Taking a technical approach, ASI Deepak Kumar from the Technical Surveillance team analyzed thousands of mobile numbers, eventually shortlisting 150 potential suspects. These numbers were subjected to further examination, including analysis of Call Detail Records (CDRs), Subscriber Detail Records (SDRs), dossiers, and social media profiles. This meticulous analysis aided in identifying each of the accused individuals.

Following the identification process, a multi-layered CDR analysis was conducted on the suspects, leading to the planning of targeted raids for their apprehension. The accused individuals were found to be residing in sensitive areas of Loni and Pasonda.

The Crack Team Krishna Nagar then initiated field operations and executed the raids with the utmost sensitivity, considering the sensitive nature of the locations involved. As a result, all the accused individuals were successfully apprehended. The police recovered a sum of INR 44,700, along with the clothes and shoes worn during the burglary, a mobile phone, and a scooter that were purchased using the stolen money and utilized during the crime.

The Delhi police expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the operation, highlighting the successful collaboration between various teams and the utilization of advanced investigative techniques. The arrested individuals will now face legal proceedings as per the law.

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Woman found dead in under construction building in Delhi’s Sonia Vihar



Representational Image | Source: Istock Photo

On Saturday, officers reported the discovery of a deceased 30-year-old woman in an under-construction building located in Sonia Vihar, Northeast Delhi. The woman, identified as Meena Giri, was a mother of three children and a resident of Sonia Vihar.

According to DCP (Northeast) Joy Tirkey, a PCR call was received at 10:34 am on Saturday, reporting the finding of a woman’s body with visible blood on her head and face in a building under construction in Sonia Vihar. Meena Giri and her husband, Kripa Shankar, originally hailed from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. “As per Kripa Shankar’s statement, Meena had been missing since 7 pm on Friday,” stated the police.

Authorities have identified a worker in the area as the primary suspect. It is suspected that the woman and the accused were acquaintances who engaged in an argument over a certain matter. Allegedly, in a fit of rage, the accused fatally assaulted Meena with a heavy object.

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Delhi Crime Branch Takes Down Drug Dealers: 43 Arrested, Narcotics Worth Crores Seized



The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police announced on Sunday that it has apprehended more than 43 individuals and confiscated drugs valued at Rs 1-2 crore. These actions were carried out through simultaneous raids conducted at 100 different locations across the national capital under the initiative named Operation Kawach.

According to police sources, they have also identified more than 64 hotspots within the city where the sale and consumption of drugs such as heroin, MDMA, ganja, and other narcotics are prevalent. It has been reported that a significant number of the apprehended individuals were specifically targeting school and college students.

Since January, the Delhi Police have been actively engaged in combating drug abuse, as well as detecting and preventing its spread among both young children and adults. These efforts have been undertaken under the guidance of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Ravindra Singh Yadav, the Special Commissioner of Police (Crime), stated, “We have carried out our actions in accordance with the directives of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF). Over the past five months, we have arrested 534 offenders in 412 NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) cases. In the process, we have successfully recovered approximately 35 kg of heroin/smack, 15 kg of cocaine, 1,500 kg of ganja, 230 kg of opium, 10 kg of charas, and 20 kg of poppy husk.”

To increase their effectiveness, the police formed 80 specialized teams and instructed field officers to apprehend more offenders. Between May 12 and 13, these teams conducted raids at 100 locations, leading to the arrest of over 43 drug peddlers.

Yadav further added, “This operation was a collaborative effort involving the district police. We utilized undercover officers, surveillance teams, canine squads, and intelligence teams for assistance. Our operation successfully targeted drug dealers at both the street-level and higher levels in Delhi.”

The majority of the drug recoveries were made in the areas of North Delhi, Rohini, Dwarka, and East Delhi.

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