Billionaire Hinduja family head SP Hinduja dies at 87

New Delhi: Srichand Parmanand Hinduja, the eldest of the four Hinduja brothers and chairman of the Hinduja Group, died in London on Wednesday.

The patriarch of the Hinduja family and his brothers, Gopichand and Prakash, were accused of receiving around ₹64 crore in illegal commission for helping Swedish gun maker AB Bofors to secure a government of India contract. However, a court acquitted him.

A family spokesperson said, “It is with great sadness that Gopichand, Prakash, Ashok and the entire Hinduja family announce the passing of our family patriarch and Hinduja Group Chairman Mr. S.P. Hinduja today.”

A British national, he died in London after a prolonged illness. He was 87, a family spokesman said.

In 2005, the Hinduja brothers were acquitted for lack of evidence.

The brothers, who have been highly secretive about the size of their wealth, have disputed in British courts over control of the family’s assets.

“It is with great sadness that Gopichand, Prakash, Ashok and the entire Hinduja family today announce the passing away of our family patriarch and Hinduja Group Chairman Mr. S.P. Hinduja,” a family spokesperson said in a statement.

It described him as “the visionary and custodian of the family imparting the founding principles and values of our late father PD Hinduja.

He played a very important role along with his brothers in building strong ties between their host country, Britain, and their home country, India.

“A titan among his peers, S P Hinduja truly lived and embodied the founding principles and values of the Hinduja Group. A deeply spiritual and philanthropic man, he was courageous in action and generous at heart.

His departure leaves a huge void as the brothers have always been four bodies and one soul, the statement said.

“The Hinduja family is in grief and sorrow over his demise. We pray to the Almighty to grant his soul eternal abode at His lotus feet.”

Nearly three decades ago, Srichand – known as SP – set up a Swiss lender that became the center of a UK legal battle between the family. The dispute came to the public in 2020, with claims that three of his brothers were trying to usurp power. SP’s grandson, Karam, 32, is chief executive officer of Geneva-based Hinduja Bank, while his daughter Sanu, who turns 59 this month, is the chairperson.

Shanu and Venu, 56, who spearheaded the recent legal battle for the branch of the SP family, said in a statement on Wednesday that Srichand had died peacefully that morning.

“We will uphold the legacy and values of the SP,” he wrote.

Parmanand, the father of four Hinduja siblings, established his eponymous business in 1914 in the Sindh region of British India. SP and his brothers all began as a commodity-trading and carpet-importing firm and rapidly diversified their investments, with initial success in distributing Bollywood films outside India.

Parmanand, who died in 1971, gave his sons a mantra they resolved to follow: “Everything belongs to everyone and nothing belongs to no one.”

For decades, the brothers followed that policy, calling it their guiding principle. But that united front crumbled in the last years of SP’s life, during which he suffered from a form of dementia.

London-based barrister Leon Fernando Del Canto, who works with wealthy individuals, said Hinduja was “trying to guide himself under a very broad principle.” “In this case, the courts will determine the future of the dispute without explicit agreements or a family constitution.”

As part of last year’s truce, SP’s daughters and their brothers agreed to effectively tear up a 2014 letter outlining their unifying principles, raising the prospect of their group breaking up Was.

Still, that truce is looking increasingly fragile. The agreement to finalize it still needed to be signed, and there were outstanding questions over the family’s rule and succession even before SP’s death. Those factors could lead to future legal proceedings in the UK or in other corners of the Hinduja kingdom.

For now, the clan appears united in mourning the loss of their patriarch.

“The brothers have always been four bodies and one soul,” the family said in a statement. “His passing has left a huge void.”