Bollywood actor Sonu Sood has been mired in controversy since he impressed the gullible crowd last year for his purported philanthropic deeds during the Covid-19 pandemic-necessitated nationwide lockdown.
After coming under the scrutiny of agencies once under the INC-led UPA government in 2012, actor Sonu Sood found himself in the eye of another storm this week when the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) swooped down on him and his business associates alleging tax evasion to the tune of Rs 19.84 crore, of which he spent a meagre Rs 1.9 crore on charity work the donation was meant for. Further, the department accused him of receiving a shady investment worth Rs 250 crore from a dubious Singaporean firm into a website that touted it would train and provide employment to migrant workers.
When asked if there was any truth to the allegations, the actor rubbished them saying he is a “law-abiding citizen”.
While stating that he cannot reveal much about the same as it is currently under investigation, the small-time actor ― who played the villain in Dabangg and has featured in several south Indian films as the baddies’ sidekick ― did mention that he complied with all the questions put forth by the officials and even gave them the required papers.
“Whatever the officials needed, we have given them all. And in future too, whatever documents they need, I will provide. I totally respect the system of our country, I am a law-abiding citizen and I will make sure anything that’ required from me, is provided even in the middle of the night,” bolllywood actor Sonu Sood said in a statement to media.
The actor made headlines on 20 September, when he issued a statement on his official social media handle that read, “You don’t always have to tell your side of the story. Time will…”
News broke over the weekend that the CBDT pointed the needle of suspicion at alleged tax evasion of around Rs 20 crore by the brand ambassador of Delhi government’s mentorship programme and other questionable deals with his business partners pegged at another Rs 240 crore. The AAP immediately jumped to Sonu Sood’s defence rather than dissociating their government from the questionable celebrity.
The department’s list of questionable actions on the part of the bollywood actor mentioned unutilised funds in the Sood Charity Foundation, fake contracts and circular transactions with his business partners-companies, diversion of funds through ‘bogus accommodation entries’ to evade taxes, and re-routing them back for making financial investments or buying property.