Sonu Sood evaded tax of Rs 20 crore: IT department

New Delhi: Actor Sonu Sood has evaded taxes of over Rs 20 crores, the income tax department said in a statement today, after visiting his Mumbai home for three days in a row for a search. Sood, 48, had recently announced a tie-up with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party government.

The tax department said Sood's non-profit also raised Rs 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 evidence 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 Rs 20 crore," the tax department said.

According to the allegations against the actor, whose philanthropic efforts for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have earned huge praise, his non-profit Sood Charity Foundation set up in July last year during the Covid first wave collected donations of over Rs 18 crore till April this year, out of which Rs 1.9 crore has been spent on relief work and the balance Rs 17 crore has been lying unused in the non-profit's bank account.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 has said there is no link between Sood's tie-up with AAP and the searches.

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