IT Department: Sonu Sood evaded over Rs 20 crore taxes

Bollywood actor Sonu Sood’s Mumbai home was under Income Tax raid for three days in a row. With the search coming to an end, it is revealed by the IT Department officials in a statement today that the actor has evaded taxes of over Rs 20 crore.

The 48-year-old actor has recently tied-up with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party government. His non-profit organisation also raised Rs 2.1 crore from donors overseas, using a crowdfunding platform in violation of the law – Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act – that governs such transactions.

According to a report by NDTV, the tax department reportedly said in a statement that during the course of search at the premises of the actor and his associates, incrimination of evidences pertaining to tax evasion was found. They added that the main modus operandi followed by the actor had been to route his unaccounted income in the form of bogus unsecured loans from many fake entities.

The tax department also said, “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 crore.”

Where Sonu Sood’s generous efforts for those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic have earned praises, the allegations against him points that his non-profit Sood Charity Foundation which was set up in July last year collected donations of over Rs 18 crore till April this year. Out of the total collection only 1.9 crore has been spent on relief work and the remaining balance is still lying unused in the organisation’s bank account.

According to the sources, a recent deal between the actor’s company and a Lucknow-based real estate firm is under the scanner. The survey operation began after the allegations of tax evasion on this deal was hinted to the IT department.

In today’s statement, the tax department added, “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 unearthing of incriminating evidences pertaining to tax evasion and irregularities in the books of account.”

The department also claimed that the Lucknow group is involved in pseudo billing of subcontracting expenses and diverting funds and said, “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 crore has been seized during the course of the search.”

The timing of the sudden raid in Sonu Sood’s homes and other premises have raised questions by the ruling party of Maharastra-Shiv Sena, and the Aam Aadmi Party. However, BJP has said that there is no connection between Sood’s tie-up with AAP and the searches.

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