New Delhi/ Mumbai: Speaking for the first time since tax raids last week, actor Sonu Sood finally released a message on his Twitter handle. Through the tweet, he said that “every rupee” in his foundation was “awaiting its turn to save a life.”
He also took a swipe at the Income Tax department, commenting that he had been “busy attending to guests” for four days.
“You don’t always have to tell your side of the story. Time will,” the actor said in a statement he tweeted along with a couplet in Hindu, loosely translated as “even the most difficult path can seem easy with the goodwill of every Indian.”
The 48-year-old actor was raided for four days in a row by the Income Tax department, which has accused him of evading taxes worth over ₹ 20 crore.
“Every rupee in my foundation is awaiting its turn to save a precious life and reach the needy. In addition, on many occasions, I have encouraged brands to donate my endorsement fees for humanitarian causes too, which keeps us going,” the actor wrote.
“I have been busy attending to a few guests hence was unable to be at your service for the last four days. Here I am back again in all humility. At your humble service, for life.”
The tax department said Mr Sood’s non-profit raised ₹ 2.1 crore from overseas donors using a crowdfunding platform in violation of the law – Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act – that governs such transactions.
“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.
According to allegations against the actor, whose philanthropic efforts for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have earned widespread praise, his non-profit Sood Charity Foundation set up in July last year collected donations of over ₹ 18 crore till April this year, out of which ₹ 1.9 crore has been spent on relief work and ₹ 17 crore has been lying unused.
Sources have said “a recent deal between Sonu Sood’s company and a Lucknow-based real estate firm is under the scanner”, and the survey operation began on allegations of tax evasion on this deal.