MUMBAI: The Income Tax department on Saturday stated that Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, known for his philanthropic work particularly during COVID pandemic has evaded taxes over Rs 20 crore.
A press release by Income Tax has said that the department conducted a search and seizure operation at various premises of a prominent actor in Mumbai and also a Lucknow-based group of industries engaged in infrastructure development. Total 28 premises spread over Mumbai, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jaipur, Delhi, and Gurgaon have been covered in the search operation.
"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. Investigations so far have revealed the use of twenty 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", the statement reads.
It also said that 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 Rs. 20 crore", the statement reads.
The Income Tax department has said that the Charity Foundation incorporated by the actor on 21st July, 2020 has collected donations to the tune of Rs 18.94 crore from 01.04.2021 till date, out of which it has spent around Rs. 1.9 crore towards various relief work and the balance of Rs. 17 crore has been found lying unutilized in the bank account of the Foundation till date.
"It is seen that funds to the tune of Rs. 2.1 crore have also been raised by the Charity Foundation from overseas donors on a crowd funding platform in violation of FCRA regulations", the statement said adding that cash of Rs 1.8 crore has been seized during the course of the search and 11 Lockers have been placed under prohibitory order.
Sood, 48, had recently announced a tie-up with tax Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party government.