Close to 20 hours after VG Siddhartha went missing from Nethravathi bridge near Mangaluru, hopes of finding him are beginning to dim. Especially after Simon D’Souza, a local fisherman claimed that he had seen a man jump into the river from near Pillar number 8 around 7 pm on Monday. The version matches with that given by Siddhartha’s driver who had been asked to stop the car. Siddhartha had then walked ahead on the bridge, talking to someone on his mobile phone.
D’Souza has told the police and the Kannada media that he was near pillar number 6 of the kilometre long bridge when he saw a man jump. He claims he has saved many people who either fell into the water or tried to commit suicide in the past but on Monday, because of heavy rain and darkness, he could not do anything. He claims he did not know the identity of the person who jumped and only knew of it now through the media.
The sniffer dogs too had lost Siddhartha’s scent in the middle of the bridge, leading the police to suspect he may have attempted something drastic.
Meanwhile the Coast Guard and three diving teams along with the district disaster relief team too have joined the search operations in the Netravathi river that is swollen as a result of the rains. Ships off the old Mangaluru port have been ordered to keep a lookout near the mouth of the harbour since the Netravati river flows into the Arabian sea. Hovercraft ACV (H198) is carrying out search as well.
While the letter on VG Siddhartha’s letterhead was declared as genuine, Congress leader DK Shivakumar who is known to be close to SM Krishna’s family found the sequence of events rather strange. Shivakumar revealed that on 28 July, Siddhartha had called him expressing a desire to meet.
At the stockmarket, the share price of Coffee Day crashed by 20 per cent, closing the day 38 rupees lower at 153.40. Siddhartha is a majority shareholder in Coffee Day Enterprise at 32.75 per cent.