Sonu Sood opens up: On tax evasion, RS nomination offer and AAP 'entry'
Actor Sonu Sood, whose highly visible charity work has come under a cloud after tax raids at his Mumbai home and offices, has flatly denied allegations of tax evasion. He told a news channel on Monday (September 20) that he was even offered Rajya Sabha membership twice from two different political parties but he had declined the offers because “he didn't feel ready for politics just yet”.
Actor Sonu Sood, whose highly visible charity work has come under a cloud after tax raids at his Mumbai home and offices, has flatly denied allegations of tax evasion. He told a news channel on Monday (September 20) that he was even offered Rajya Sabha membership twice from two different political parties but he had declined the offers because “he didn’t feel ready for politics just yet”.
Sood, who has been accused of tax evasion by the CBDT to the tune of ₹20 crores, told NDTV, “I declined two offers of Rajya Sabha seats from two different parties. Mentally I was not ready. I am currently happy in my place. Whenever I am ready, I will shout from the rooftops that I am ready.”
According to the actor, who was often hailed as a ‘superhero’, he had cooperated with the Income Tax department and given them whatever documents and details they had asked for. He had answered each and every one of their questions with documents.
“That’s my duty, we are still providing documents…it is part of the process”, said the actor in his interview to NDTV. The actor who seemed composed also said that he makes sure “every single penny donated by anyone in this universe is accounted for. “
He flatly denied Income Tax allegations that he had violated the law. The tax department had also said that his charity formed in July last year collected donations of over ₹18 crores but only ₹ 1.9 crore had been spent on relief work.
According to Sood, the money collected was not just donated by citizens. A chunk of the money lying in his charity has also come in as remuneration from his brand endorsements since he had asked them to donate to his charity which can save lives.
Sood told NDTV that it would not take him more than 18 hours to spend the ₹18 crores. But he claimed that he had to do proper due diligence before supporting a cause and ensure that every single penny is used in a proper way, for a genuinely needy person.
Moreover, it was not lying around for years but has only been in the account for the past few months. On the charge by taxmen that he had received foreign funding illegally, he said he “can’t get a single dollar into my account”. The money was going directly to beneficiaries, said Sood, who added that the tax department officials had complimented him on his “good work”, NDTV reported.
In an earlier interview to news agencies, Sood had said every rupee in his foundation is ‘awaiting its turn to be used to reach the needy and save precious lives.’ The 48-year-old actor said he had been busy “attending to a few guests” and that is the reason he was unable to be at the service of the people for the last four days.
“Here I am back again in all humility. At your humble service, for life. My journey continues. Jai Hind,” Sood wrote in a statement on Instagram as well as on Twitter.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) claimed that after the Income Tax Department raided him and a Lucknow-based infrastructure group, it was found that Sood routed his “unaccounted income in the form of bogus unsecured loans from many bogus entities”.
The CBDT also accused the actor, who was last seen in the 2021 Telugu movie Alludu Adhurs, of violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) while raising donations from abroad.
Meanwhile, defending himself, Sood said in a statement that he had pledged himself to the service of the people of India with all his ‘strength and heart’.
“You don’t always have to tell your side of the story. Time will. 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,” Sood pointed out.
Questioned by NDTV on whether the raids were linked to his recent collaboration with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for a school education mentorship, Sood preferred to remain diplomatic and said that he was not allying with AAP.
If anyone called them to their state – be it Karnataka or Gujarat, he would go immediately like magic, he said. He has worked in all states those ruled by BJP and Congress, he added.