Actor Sonu Sood under investigation for tax evasion

New Delhi:

Actor Sonu Sood evaded taxes of more than Rs 20 crore, the Income Tax Department said in a statement today, after visiting his Mumbai home for three consecutive days for a search . Mr Sood, 48, had recently announced a rapprochement with the government of the Aam Aadmi party of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The tax department said Mr Sood’s nonprofit also raised Rs 2.1 crore from foreign donors using a crowdfunding platform in violation of the law – Foreign Contribution (Regulation ) Act – which governs such transactions.

“During the search of the premises of the actor and his associates, incriminating evidence relating to tax evasion was found. The main modus operandi followed by the actor had been to channel his unrecorded income under the form of bogus unsecured loans from many bogus entities, ”the tax department said in the statement.

“Investigations have so far revealed the use of 20 of these entries, which the providers, after examination, have accepted under oath to have given false accommodation entries. They have agreed to have issued checks to the instead of cash. There have been cases where business receipts have been disguised as loans in the books of accounts for the purpose of tax evasion. It has also been revealed that these bogus loans have been used to make investments and acquire properties. The total amount of evaded tax discovered so far is more than Rs 20 crore, “the tax department said.

According to allegations against the actor, whose philanthropic efforts for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have garnered widespread praise, his nonprofit Sood Charity established in July of last year during the first wave of Covid has collected donations of over Rs 18 crore until April of this year, of which Rs 1.9 crore was spent on relief work and the balance of Rs 17 crore remained unused in the bank account of the non-profit organization.

Sources said that “a recent deal between Sonu Sood’s company and a Lucknow-based real estate company is under scanner,” and the investigation operation has started into the tax evasion allegations on the deal.

“The simultaneous search operations carried out in various premises of an infrastructure group in Lucknow in which the actor concluded a real estate project in joint venture and invested substantial funds, made it possible to unearth the relative evidence. to tax evasion and irregularities in the books of account, “the tax department said in today’s statement.

He alleged that the Lucknow group is involved in false invoicing of outsourcing expenses and embezzlement. “The evidence of these fake contracts found so far amounts to over Rs 65 crore … Further investigations are underway to establish the extent of tax evasion. Money of Rs 1, 8 crore was seized during the search, ”the tax department said.

The ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and the Aam Aadmi party have questioned the timing of the searches at Sonu Sood’s home. The BJP said there was no connection between Mr. Sood’s connection to AAP and the searches.