VG Siddhartha never asked for a favor – HD Kumaraswamy

HD Kumaraswamy, former chief minister of Karnataka and a friend of missing businessman VG Siddhartha, said he was puzzled by the turn of events surrounding the Cafe Coffee Day owner.

Kumaraswamy, who stepped down as chief minister last week, said Siddhartha is not someone who runs away from challenges.

“He protected more than 30,000 families from village background, youngsters. Why he has taken this kind of a hasty decision, leaving this world.. Why would such a person take this kind of step,” Kumaraswamy said in an interview with CNN News18.

“He has faced several challenges in his life, but he overcame all those difficulties.”

Siddhartha had taken loans and was keen to pay them back by liquidating his assets. However, Income Tax authorities were blocking some of these moves.

In January this year, the Income Tax Department had frozen one of his core assets — his shares in Mindtree.

Kumaraswamy said, quoting reports, that the businessman seemed to be under pressure from regulatory authorities.

“Unnecessarily, they were giving disturbance to him in his business,” the former CM said, adding that there was no real need for him to take any extreme steps, given that he had enough assets — such as plantations and shares in companies — to pay back all his loans.

“He had good assets to pay back whatever borrowings he has taken from the market and the banks. Ultimately, he would have survived with those assets. Why he’s hurriedly taken this step,” Kumaraswamy asked.

Kumaraswamy also praised his personality, saying despite being a friend, Siddhartha never once asked for a favor.

“Whatever problems he faced, he never expressed before anybody. Whatever problems, whatever difficulties he faced, he himself faced his problems, taking them as a challenge. That is his nature.

“Even during my days in the [CM] office, he never tried to get any benefit from me, never asked me anything,” he added.

Siddhartha went missing last night over a bridge on the Netravati river near Mangalore. It is believed that he jumped into the river to end his life.

Authorities are still searching for his body, but have so far been unable to track it down.

Sniffer dogs have followed his scent all the way to the edge of the bridge, and mobile tower records too indicated that he was last seen on the bridge.