Business & Finance

Actor Sonu Sood evaded Rs 20 crore tax: Income Tax department

Mumbai: Income Tax department has said that Actor and social activist Sonu Sood has done a tax invasion of Rs. 20 crore. The house of 48-year-old actor and some sites linked to him were being raided for the past three days.

“During the course of search at the premises of the actor and his associates, incriminating evidences pertaining to tax evasion have 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.

“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,” the tax department said.

Sonu Sood’s office was raided by the IT department on Wednesday. Also a company in Lucknow linked to him was raided according to sources. The reason is said to be tampering in the books of account.

The tax raid was carried out days after the actor was declared the brand ambassador for Arvind Kejriwal’s government’s mentorship programme for school students in the capital in a high profile meeting. Sonu Sood had later denied any plans for a political debut with Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

AAP had also announced that the Delhi government would soon come up with “the most progressive” film policy in the country that would provide a massive boost to the entertainment industry. Both Kejriwal and Sood had then said that no discussions around politics were held during their meeting.

Sonu’s house was also raided by IT department in the past in 2012. At that time the IT department had raided Sanjay Dutt, Sonu Nigam and Sonu Sood’s house after red flags were raised regarding their acquisitions. Sood’s house was raided then after the actor had brought a property worth Rs 30 crores.

AAP leader Raghav Chaddha said: “An IT raid on a man as upright as Sonu Sood, somebody who has been called a messiah by lakhs of people, somebody who helped the downtrodden. If a man like him can be politically targeted in a well thought out witch-hunt shows that the current regime is insensitive and politically insecure.”

The raid is speculated to have connection with the high profile meeting with AAP which was denied by BJP, “There is no relation to that. Any personality can meet anyone. It is just a search, not a raid. It’s on a tipoff. It’s not necessary that the person who heads the charity has done anything wrong… It must be something at the lower level. Income Tax is an independent department, which has its own protocol. It is doing its job,” Asif Bhamla, BJP spokesman, said.

Though he has never shown interest in politics it was rumoured that the actor may contest election from Punjab next year.

The 48-year-old actor won wide praise for his charity work. He is a social media hero and had helped people during the Covid-19 crisis by providing them with transportation, he is also infamous for helping people on Twitter.

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