Siddhartha disappearance: Dog squad stopped in middle of Nethravati bridge

The police have formed four teams to investigate the case of missing Cafe Coffee Day founder V.G. Siddhartha from multiple angles, according to City Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil.

He said that the dog squad used during the search operation on Tuesday stopped in the middle of the Nethravati bridge at Jeppinamogaru, from where the entrepreneur is believed to have gone missing. The police are also verifying CCTV footage from the vicinity, he said.

Hanumantaraya, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), Mangaluru, said no letter or note has been found in the car in which Mr. Siddhartha travelled from Bengaluru to Mangaluru on Monday.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the last call from his mobile phone was made at around 6.30 p.m. to Javed, Chief Finance Officer of his company. The conversation is believed to have been about business.

Police have secured footage from the CCTV camera installed at the toll gate on NH 75 at Brahmarakootlu. According to it, the car crossed the toll gate towards Mangaluru at 5.30 p.m.

Police are also questioning Basavaraj Patil, Mr. Siddhartha’s driver, who filed a complaint with Kankanady police in Mangaluru around 12.30 a.m. on Tuesday.

According to the complaint, Mr. Siddhartha, in the morning, asked his driver to get his luggage as he wanted to go to his “native place”. They left for Sakleshpur in Hassan district in an Innova car around noon. When they reached Sakleshpur, Mr. Siddhartha asked the driver to drive up to Mangaluru.

Upon reaching Mangaluru, he asked Mr. Patil to take a deviation at a circle to Kerala. When they approached Nethravati bridge, he asked Patil to stop the vehicle at one end of the bridge and said that he would return after completing a walk on the bridge. He told the driver to sit in the car.

When he did not return even at 8 p.m. — around an hour and half later — Patil called up his boss’ mobile phone and found it switched off. He then called Mr. Siddhartha’s son Amartya Hegde. Later, Pradeep Shetty, an employee of the company owned by Mr. Siddartha in Mangaluru, arrived at the spot. Mr. Patil narrated to him the sequence of events.

Fisherman’s claim

Simon D’Souza, a fisherman, speaking to a news channel on Tuesday, said he saw a person falling from the bridge around 7 p.m. on Monday. “I was alone and was not in a position to rush and rescue the person,” he told the channel.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police dubbed this statement very vague. “We will trace the fisherman and verify his statement,” he said.

V.G. Siddhartha's and Café Coffee Day's journey through the years

He told reporters that a team has been sent to Bengaluru for inquiry and is speaking to V.G. Siddhartha’s relatives. The team will also visit his office in the State capital. Another team is studying the technical aspects of the case.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 3:02:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/siddhartha-disappearance-dog-squad-stopped-in-middle-of-nethravati-bridge/article28764031.ece

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