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Cops may treat CCD chief’s letter as dying declaration

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on August 05, 2019 with No Comments

CCD may conduct independent study

The board of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd. (CDEL) is considering getting an independent forensic study of the letter.

“We need not wait for the police investigation. We may get the letter forensically examined ourselves,” a member of the board said. A formal statement issued by S.V. Ranganath, an independent director elected as the new interim chairman of CDEL said, “While the authenticity of the letter is unverified and it is unclear whether these statements pertain to the company or the personal holdings of Mr. V.G. Siddhartha, the board took serious note of the same and resolved to thoroughly investigate this matter”.

With the body of V.G. Siddhartha, founder of Cafe Coffee Day (CCD), being recovered from the Netravati,  the letter he purportedly wrote — in which he blamed his financial troubles and “harassment” on the Income Tax Department for “succumbing to the situation” — has gained legal significance. It will now have to be treated as a dying declaration or suicide note, after checking the veracity of the letter. “We have recovered the letter from his family members. We will take necessary action further,” said Kamal Pant, Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order), Karnataka. As per reports, a clerk in Siddhartha’s office handed over the letter to his immediate family hours after he went missing near Mangaluru on Monday night. The clerk has told the family and the police that Siddhartha had dictated the letter to her a few weeks ago and he called her on Monday evening, hours before he went missing, asking her to release it to over 200 people, including CCD employees, investors and media on Tuesday morning. “A senior police official said that if the police probe into his death led to the inference that these factors unfairly pushed him to take the extreme step, then booking a case for abetment would be considered.

The I-T Department, an officer of which is blamed for harassment in the letter, has claimed the signature in the letter does not tally with Siddhartha’s signature on the annual returns with them. “The investigating officer would be sending the said letter for forensic examination, which would verify the signature on the letter,”  Pant said. The police would also record the statement of the clerk and corroborate it with Siddhartha’s mobile call records, sources said.


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