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Nand Lal Khemka, the founder of the SUN group, has found his and his company’s name in ‘Paradise Papers’, a series of reports published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). According to these reports, Khemka and his companies have over 100 associated entities in offshore tax havens. His company is reported to be the second-biggest client of Appleby, the white-shoe offshore law firm whose records have been accessed by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. In a mailed response to specific questions, SUN Group spokesperson James Edwin told Business Standard, “As a global group owned by shareholders who have been NRIs since before incorporation of the group, SUN has made many separate investments using specific corporate vehicles over these years. We follow and comply with all related laws and required disclosures, including paying our taxes in countries where we operate in these diverse sectors.” Khemka is a well-known industrialist in Delhi whose business interests touch aerospace, oil & gas, mining, real estate, infrastructure, food & beverage, technology and renewable energy. The SUN group describes itself as being active in Russia since 1958 and in India for over 100 years. Releases of the Russian embassy in Delhi suggest that Khemka was decorated by the Russian government with Friendship Order in 2009 for “development and strengthening friendly ties and cooperation between Russia and India”. Khemka’s profile on his company’s website states that he is on the ‘board of overseers’ of Columbia Business School, on a Russian government’s business leaders’ council and a former honorary consul general of Iceland to India. The Khemka family had also contributed towards the establishment of Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. An auditorium in the business school is named after a family member. The SUN group is reportedly constructing a liquefied natural gas terminal in Gujarat along with a Russian company through a joint venture called Sunetra.
This joint venture is reportedly in the oil exploration business in Nigeria as well.According to company documents, Khemka as the karta of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) has substantial shareholdings in Khemka Aviation, one of the first businesses formally registered by the Khemka family in 1966. The control over Khemka Aviation has been changing among family members since records are available. It is Nand Lal Khemka’s stake as the karta which has remained constant over these years. Established in 1966, Khemka Aviation operates out of a building called Speed Bird House in New Delhi’s Connaught Place. Among other things, the company was established to “deal in shares, stocks, securities and properties”. Khemka Aviation, like other businesses of the SUN group, is a closely controlled family business. In 2015-16, it had clocked a turnover of around Rs 12 crore, earning a profit of just about Rs 9 crore – a six-fold jump in profits over the previous year. Most of the income earned by Khemka Aviation was in the form of dividends. There are other companies owned by Khemka where significant control is exercised by offshore entities. For instance, the second-biggest shareholder in SUN Group Enterprises is a Channel Islands-based company called SPR Limited, controlled by the Khemka family. According to its latest annual report, more than a third of the shares in the company is held by the Channel Islands-based entity. Jersey’s company register shows that SPR Limited is located at Esplanade Street, though the company has specified a different address on Pier Road in its filings in India. Khemka is listed as the director in nine other companies operating out of India. These include Indag Rubber, Indrasil Technologies, Unipatch Rubber, Sun Psinet, MP Flour Mills, VSP Stores, Computing Ahead (India), India Petrocom and Sun Securities.