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Rs 20 crore tax evasion, FCRA violation, fake billing and misappropriation of funds: All you need to know about charges against Sonu Sood

While a total of ₹18.94 crore was collected by Sonu Soon in donations, only ₹1.9 crore was used, and the rest over ₹17 crore has not been used yet.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes on Saturday issued a statement over the ongoing Income Tax raids against actor Sonu Sood. After conducting searches for three days in a row, the IT department said Sood had evaded taxes to the tune of over Rs 20 crores. 

As per CBDT, during the course of the raid at the premises of the actor and his associates, incriminating evidence pertaining to tax evasion have been found. The method adopted by the actor, the IT dept said, was to funnel his unaccounted income in the form of bogus unsecured loans from many bogus entities. These fake loans were then used for making investments and buying properties. 

“Investigations have so far unearthed 20 entries, the providers of which, have accepted on oath to have provided bogus accommodation entries. They have accepted to have issued cheques in lieu of cash. Then there were instances where professional receipts have been disguised as loans in the books of accounts for the purpose of evasion of tax,” the tax department said.

While Sonu Sood had collected huge amounts in donations, most of the amount is lying unused, and only a small amount has been distributed. According to the statement, while a total of ₹18.94 crore was collected, only ₹1.9 crore was used, and the rest over ₹17 crore has not been used yet.

“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,” the statement said.

Besides, the tax department has also added that Sood’s non-profit organisation was founded to have violated FCRA norms, as the organisation is not registered under FCRA and hence not authorised to receive foreign currency donations. It had raised Rs 2.1 crore from foreign donors using a crowdfunding platform in contravention of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act – which keeps a tab on such transactions. According to IT officials, a large portion of donations sought from abroad in the name of helping people remained unutilised in the bank account of a charity founded by Sonu Sood.

The statement issued by I-T Dept

In addition, the probe officials also chanced upon documents that showed Sonu Sood was involved in circular training. An elaborate series of documents, now under the possession of IT sleuths, revealed that money was routed through various accounts, but the real beneficiary was Sonu Sood himself. 

Furthermore, Sood has also been accused of evading taxes by claiming false expenditure. 

IT department conducts raid against Sonu Sood over his links with a Lucknow-based real estate company

The action against Sonu Sood was initiated on Wednesday when the IT dept officials conducted raids at 6 locations linked to the act over a deal between a firm owned by him and a Lucknow-based infrastructure company following a tax evasion complaint. 

According to the sources quoted by media organisations, the Lucknow-based real estate company is involved in fake billing of subcontracting expenses and diverting funds. Bogus bills of over Rs 65 crore has been reportedly found so far. The investigation is currently underway to determine the full extent of tax evasion. Unaccounted cash of Rs 1.8 crores has also been seized and 11 lockers have been placed under prohibitory order during the raid.

Further, it has been unearthed that the said Infrastructure Group/company has entered into dubious circular transactions to the tune of Rs. 175 crore with an infrastructure company based in Jaipur.

Given the evidence, the IT sleuths expanded the scope of their investigation against the actor. As many as 28 premises in Mumbai, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jaipur, Delhi, Gurugram were searched during the operation that continued for 3 days. 

Along with Sonu Sood, the Income Tax department has also conducted surveys at locations belonging to one Anil Singh, the director of the infrastructure company involved in building expressways in Uttar Pradesh and who is also a close aide of Sonu Sood. The Income Tax Department team had raided Anil Singh’s house and office in Vibhutikhand.

Social media watchdog sheds light on the use of bogus companies by Sonu Sood to allegedly evade taxes

The damning statement by the Income Tax department against Sonu Sood and his aides jibes perfectly well with the discrepancies highlighted by a social media user back in August 2021, who had then asserted that the actor and his associates were involved in dubious transactions through a web of bogus companies that were established for the express purpose of routing money.

In an elaborate Twitter thread, the social media user who goes by the handle @thehawkeyex, shed light on the discrepancies in various companies owned by actor Sonu Sood. In the year 2020, the Twitter user claims, Sonu Sood, who was till then never projected as a businessman, launched not 1 or 2 but 8 new ventures in the span of a year. One of them was Omsai Shakti Sagar Homes LLP, which was partly funded by Anil Singh, the same businessman who is under investigation by the IT department and who had previously worked as an advisor to former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav. 

The Twitter user had also highlighted how Sood might have leveraged the positive PR he attracted in the wake of the migrant crisis and got an investment of Rs 250 crores from a Singapore-based investment company in one of his ventures. Later, he quietly exited from the business, the user alleged. 

Similarly, the user also called to attention other murky business ventures launched by Sonu Sood at a time when the country was reeling under a downturn caused by coronavirus-induced lockdowns, claiming that they were established with the sole purpose of perpetrating activities that were in violation of the law of the land.

Sonu Sood says ‘every penny is awaiting its turn to save a life’

The actor, who has since been silent over the raids, finally responded on September 20. In a tweet, Sonu Sood stated that he is committed to serving everyone in India. He added that every penny in the account of his foundation ‘awaiting its turn’ to be used to serve people in need and save lives.”

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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