Behind $500-billion offer ad: Promoter of obscure US firm, dissolved company

S Pradeep Kumar, chairman and CEO of Landomus Group, told The Indian Express: “We have submitted the details to the GoI (Government of India) and (are) waiting for the response from them."

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Landomus Realty, a little-known US company which, through newspaper advertisements earlier this week, offered to invest USD 500 billion in India’s National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), claims to have placed its investment plans before the government for scrutiny.

S Pradeep Kumar, chairman and CEO of Landomus Group, told The Indian Express: “We have submitted the details to the GoI (Government of India) and (are) waiting for the response from them. After hearing from them, I will provide all the details and also documents will be available in the public domain.”

Kumar did not specify the ministry he was in touch with. Senior officials dealing with matters of infrastructure finance and NIP in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) denied knowledge of any submission from Kumar or the Landomus Group.

Last Monday, Kumar approached the government through newspaper advertisements for an investment worth $500 billion in infrastructure projects under the NIP, an initiative to provide world-class infrastructure across the country by attracting investments towards the target of becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2025.

Records accessed by The Indian Express show that Kumar incorporated a company in Cyprus long before setting up three Landomus entities — one in India and two in the US — between 2015 and 2018:

  • Landomus Realty Ventures Private Limited (Karnataka, July 2015) became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Landomus Reality Ventures Inc (Delaware) in June 2018 and received FDI in equity of Rs 70,000 for “construction of buildings” from the US holding company during the July-September quarter.
  • Landomus Realty Ventures Inc (Delaware, February 2017) was meant to “raise $525 million for procuring land parcels” — 5,000 acres in the US and 850 acres in India. While Texas was the focus in the US, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune were primary target markets in India.
  • Landomus Realty Ventures Inc (Delaware, February 2018), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Landomus Realty Ventures Inc, was launched to raise $25 million through private placement of its convertible promissory notes with the projection of delivering “a target compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.93%” for investors. The company became void with USD 1,79,227.70 due in tax in 2020.

Landomus Realty (Bangalore), records show, has a paid-up capital of Rs 1 lakh and filed its balance sheet last in 2020. It posted no revenue for the year ending March 31, 2020, and Rs 91,500 and Rs 10,02,155 for the previous two years. The only year the company made profit — Rs 11, 612 —was in 2017-2018.

The first office for Landomus Realty (Bangalore), according to records, was leased by Kumar through United Land Bank (UBL) in 2015. UBL was also the vehicle when Kumar, a self-proclaimed pioneer in land banking, made what was probably his first headline in September 2010, announcing “nearly 100 projects worth over USD 1 billion with a gestation period of 36 months” in Karnataka. Scheduled to take off in 2011, the fate of these projects remains unknown.

While UBL’s now defunct website — registered in November 2010 — described the entity as a “consultant and facilitator to procure lands and properties in Bangalore and Mysore” without shedding any light on its ownership, various court records referred to it as Kumar’s “sole proprietor concern”.

However, according to documents accessed from the Registrar of Companies by The Indian Express, Kumar set up ULB Realty Ventures Limited in Cyprus in June 2012 as a director-shareholder. The offshore company, with a paid-up capital of USD 10,000, was dissolved in May 2018, around the time Kumar launched his second Landomus company as a 506(c) Offering Platform to raise $25 million in the US.

Under Rule 506(c), companies can advertise their securities offering without having to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as long as they sell the securities only to accredited investors.

While Landomus Star Realty Ventures Inc became defunct by 2020, Landomus Realty Ventures Inc remains active. But the full-fledged website — registered in July 2015 by Kumar’s UBL— was taken down by May 2019 for reconstruction and subsequently reduced to a single-page entity.

Kumar declined to comment on the source of his proposed mega investment, his companies in Cyprus and Delaware, the fate of various big-ticket projects conceived for Karnataka and US, and why Landomus reduced its full-fledged website to a single-page entity.

“I have noted down all your questions. Our decision is not to speak to the media until we hear from the government (on our proposal),” he said.

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