A letter written on VG Siddhartha’s letterhead sounds like a goodbye note. Or worse, a suicide note. It brings back memories of Satyam Computers founder Ramalinga Raju’s letter in January 2009.
Addressed to the Board of Directors and Coffee Day family, Siddhartha says he “failed to create the right profitable business model” despite his best efforts.
In the letter, he names three entities responsible for the mess he seems to have landed himself in. “I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares,” he writes.
“Tremendous pressure from other lenders lead to me succumbing to the situation. There was a lot of harassment from the previous DG Income Tax in the form of attaching our shares … although the revised returns have been filed by us. This was very unfair and has led to a serious liquidity crunch.”
Siddhartha’s tone is clearly despondent, the voice of a man who does not see light at the end of the tunnel.
“I am solely responsible for all mistakes. Every financial transaction is my responsibility. My team, auditors and senior management are totally unaware of all my transactions. The law should hold me and only me accountable as I have withheld this information from everybody including my family,” he writes.
At the end of the letter, Siddhartha asked for pardon from those who have worked with him and known him closely.
“I have failed as an entrepreneur,” he writes. The letter is signed 27 July, two days before he went missing.
It is sad to go through the letter. Given what he created as a brand, this surely should not have ended this way.