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VG Siddhartha suicide: Coffee Day says probe report to be tabled shortly

MUMBAI: Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd (CDEL) on Thursday said a report is likely to be tabled shortly on the investigation into the circumstances that led to the alleged suicide of the company’s chairman V G Siddhartha.

In a filing to stock exchanges, the company said it was confident of the future ahead despite the recent developments and has received unconditional support from its employees, shareholders and partners.

Siddhartha was confirmed dead on July 31, 2019 after his body was found in the Netravati river in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, a day after he went missing.

CDEL founder Siddhartha had written a purported letter dated July 27 alleging harassment by the income tax department.

Last August, retired CBI DG Ashok Kumar Malhotra was appointed to investigate into the circumstances leading to statements made in the letter of the Siddhartha, and to scrutinise the books of accounts of the company and its subsidiaries.

“The said assignment is under progress and has taken long time due to coverage of as many as 48 subsidiary companies and the investigation report is likely to be tabled shortly.:

“The delay in submission of limited review financials for the last two quarters is mainly due to non-completion of investigation report. The limited review financials will be submitted after the completion of investigation report which will help invoke the suspension of trading in the stock exchange,” the filing said.

Coffee Day Global Ltd (CDGL) — a subsidiary of CDEL — has mandated Deloitte only for the limited purpose of Vendor Due Diligence (VDD) with respect to proposed stake sale and not for conducting any forensic audit of the vendors or any transactions of CDEL with any other entity, the filing said.

As per the filing, VDD is a terminology used to describe a process undertaken by the seller for the purpose of carrying out an independent review of an entity for the benefit of prospective investors/PE Fund.

“For the record, the coffee retailing business is part of CDGL and not Cafe Coffee Day (CCD), which is only a brand name of the cafes,” it added.

Regarding CDEL, the filing said debt levels have reduced from Rs 7,200 crore at the beginning of the current fiscal to around Rs 4,800 crore.

The company is looking forward to end the financial year 2019-20 with a reduced debt levels of Rs 1,800 crore, it added.