Seem like Bollywood messiah Sonu Sood has gotten himself into some nasty trouble! Well, as per the latest reports, Sonu has evaded taxes of over ₹20 crores, the income tax department announced in a statement today, after visiting his Mumbai house for three days in a row for an investigation.
The 48-year-old actor had just declared a tie-up with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party government. Well, now the tax department said that Sood’s non-profit organisation also put up ₹2.1 crores from overseas donors using a crowdfunding platform in violation of the law – Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act – that governs such transactions.
“During the course of search at the premises of the actor and his associates, incriminating evidences pertaining to tax evasion has been found. The main modus operandi followed by the actor had been to route his unaccounted income in the form of bogus unsecured loans from many bogus entities,” the tax department said in the statement against Sonu Sood.
“Investigations so far have revealed use of 20 such entries, the providers of which, on examination, have accepted on oath to have given bogus accommodation entries. They have accepted to have issued cheques in lieu of cash. There have been instances where professional receipts have been camouflaged as loans in the books of accounts for the purpose of evasion of tax. It has also been revealed that these bogus loans have been used for making investments and acquiring properties. The total amount of tax evaded unearthed so far, amounts to more than ₹20 crores,” the tax department said regarding Sonu Sood’s tax evasion.
According to the statements against Sonu, whose philanthropic actions for those implicated by the COVID-19 pandemic have earned huge praise, his non-profit Sood Charity Foundation prepped up in July last year during the Covid first wave received donations of over ₹18 crores till April this year, out of which ₹1.9 crores have been spent on consolation work and the balance ₹17 crores has been lying u used in the non-profit’s bank account.
Reports have told that “a recent deal between Sonu Sood’s company and a Lucknow-based real estate firm is under the scanner”, and the survey operation began on proclamations of tax evasion on this agreement.
“The simultaneous search operations carried out at various premises of an infrastructure group in Lucknow in which the actor has entered into a joint venture real estate project and invested substantial funds, have resulted in the unearthing of incriminating evidence about tax evasion and irregularities in the books of account,” the tax department said in the statement today.
The tax department declared that the Lucknow group is involved in phony billing of subcontracting payments and diverting funds. “Evidences of such bogus contracts found so far are to the tune of over ₹65 crore… Further investigations are being carried out to establish the full extent of tax evasion. Cash of ₹1.8 crores has been seized during the course of the search,” It said.
The ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and the Aam Aadmi Party have doubted the timing of the investigations at Sonu Sood’s home. The BJP has said there is no connection between Mr. Sood’s tie-up with AAP and the investigations.