Sonu Sood evaded taxes over Rs. 20 crore: I-T department
After conducting searches on the premises of Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, the income tax department has found incriminating evidence related to tax evasion. In a statement on Saturday, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said the star has evaded taxes amounting to over Rs. 20 crore. Notably, the search was conducted at his Mumbai-based properties for three days in a row. Here's more.
Modus operandi: Routing unaccounted income through bogus loans
According to the statement, the 48-year-old actor evaded tax by routing his "unaccounted income in the form of bogus unsecured loans from many bogus entities." The I-T department has found the use of 20 such entries, "the providers of which, on examination, have accepted on oath to have given bogus accommodation entries." These bogus loans were used for making investments and acquiring properties too.
Even the Sood Charity Foundation is under the radar
This is not all. Apparently, Sood's non-profit organization, Sood Charity Foundation, raised Rs. 2.1 crore from donors overseas using a crowdfunding platform. This collection violates the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act which governs such transactions. There are also allegations that the majority sum of donation accumulated in the Foundation's bank account has not been used for relief work.
Deal between Sood's company and real estate firm kickstarted search
For the unversed, a recent deal between the Happy New Year actor's company and a Lucknow-based real estate firm started the entire survey operation. There were allegations of tax evasion on this deal. As per the I-T department, the Lucknow company has a history of diverting funds. They have seized cash of Rs. 1.8 crore during the course of the search.
AAP questioned timing of search, BJP said no political link
To put things into perspective, this search operation comes days after Sood was announced as the envoy of the Delhi government's mentorship program for children. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted in support of the actor back when the search news broke out. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party has maintained there is no link between Sood's tie-up with Aam Aadmi Party and the searches.
Earlier, Congress was planning to project him as mayoral candidate
Sood became a messiah for hundreds during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. This has increased his public influence manifolds. Last month, there was a buzz about Mumbai Congress planning to project him as their mayoral candidate ahead of the 2022 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls.