Actor Sonu Sood on Monday in an interview to NDTV denied all allegations of tax evasion and said that every penny donated by the people towards his charitable causes is accounted for.
The Income Tax Department has been examining Sood’s deal with a Lucknow-based real estate firm since Wednesday. They have so far raided 28 premises linked to the actor and his associates in Mumbai, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jaipur, Delhi and Gurugram.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes has alleged that Sood and his associates had evaded tax worth over Rs 20 crore.
Earlier on Monday, the actor released a statement in which he had mockingly referred to income tax officials as his “guests”, adding that he could not be at the service of people for days because he was busy with them.
Sood said that he has been cooperating with the officials by submitting every document that is asked of him, according to NDTV.
“Whatever questions they asked, I answered,” he said. “I did my part, they did theirs. Whatever questions they raised, we answered each and every one of them with documents. That’s my duty. We are still providing documents… it is part of the process.”
Apart from the deal, the Income Tax Department observed that Sood had violated the Foreign Contributions (Regulations) Act by raising Rs 2.1 crore for his Charity Foundation.
They had also alleged that he had spent only Rs 1.90 crore from the Rs 18.94 crore donations amassed between April and September this year.
The money, Sood told NDTV on Monday, was accounted for.
“I make sure every single penny donated by anyone in this universe is accounted for,” he said.
Earlier in the day, he had said the every rupee in his foundation is awaiting its turn to save a precious life and reach the needy.
Sood also denied the allegation of FCRA violations, saying that he “can’t get a single dollar” into his account.
“The money was going directly to beneficiaries,” said Sood.
Sood has been widely praised for organising special flights and buses for migrant workers stranded in cities due to the countrywide coronavirus-induced lockdown in 2020. He also arranged oxygen for Covid-19 patients during the devastating second wave of the pandemic in April and May this year.
During an event in August, Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal had named Sood the brand ambassador of his government’s mentorship programme for school students. In April, the Punjab government had made him the brand ambassador of its Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Responding to the actor’s statement on Monday, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet, “More power to you Sonu ji. You are a hero to millions of Indians.”
However, Sood said that he was “not allying with AAP”, but was working without affiliations, NDTV reported.
“You call me into any state – Karnataka, Gujarat – I will go immediately, like magic,” he said. “I have worked in all states – those ruled by BJP, Congress.”
The actor also said that he had declined two offers from two political parties for Rajya Sabha seats.
“Mentally I was not ready,” he said. “I am currently happy in my place. Whenever I am ready, I will shout from the rooftops that I am ready.”