BANGALORE -- In early 2019, around six months before his body was retrieved from the Netravati River in the south Indian state of Karnataka, V.G. Siddhartha met with representatives of Blackstone Group, one of the world's leading investment companies.
Siddhartha was one of the state's most successful and influential men: the founder of Cafe Coffee Day, India's answer to Starbucks. He owned 1,700 stores nationwide and 4,500 hectares of coffee plantations. He had stakes in startups, eco-resorts, banana plantations and commercial property.