Every rupee in his foundation is “awaiting its turn” to be used to reach the needy and save lives, actor Sonu Sood said in a statement on Monday in response to the CBDT’s allegation that he and his associates evaded tax of Rs 20 crore.
Speaking for the first time since multiples searches at his premises and those related to his associates last week, the 48-year-old actor stated that he had been busy “attending to a few guests”, the reason why he was unable to be at the service of the people for four days.
“Here I am back again in all humility. At your humble service, for life. My journey continues. Jai Hind,” he wrote in a statement posted on Instagram.
Sood routed his “unaccounted income in the form of bogus unsecured loans from many bogus entities”, the Central Board of Direct Taxes claimed after the Income Tax Department raided the actor and a Lucknow-based infrastructure group.
It also accused the ”Dabangg” actor — who came into the national spotlight for his work with migrants and others during the Covid pandemic through his Sood Charity Foundation — of violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) while raising donations from abroad.
Sood said in his 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,” he said.
“‘Kar bhala to ho bhala, ant bhale ka bhala’ (A good deed always ends well),” he wrote in Hindi.
In a statement on Saturday, the CBDT claimed it had found “incriminating evidence about tax evasion” during searches at the premises of the actor and his associates. The searches began on September 15 and continued for three more days.
“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 statement had read.
It added that, so far, the use of 20 such entries has been found and the providers of which, on examination, ”accepted” on oath to have given ”bogus” accommodation entries (transaction entries in accounts).
Sood hit the headlines after he arranged free transport through rail, air, and road for numerous migrant workers to reach their home states during the nationwide lockdown clamped last year to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The CBDT said the charity foundation set up by the actor was incorporated on July 21, 2020, and had collected donations to the tune of Rs 18.94 crore from April 1, 2021, to date.
Out of this, it said, the foundation has spent around Rs 1.9 crore for various relief works and the balance of Rs 17 crore has been found lying “unutilized” in its bank account.
Funds to the tune of Rs 2.1 crore have also been raised by the charity foundation from overseas donors on a crowdfunding platform ”in violation” of FCRA regulations, it alleged. The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi recently appointed Sood ambassador of its ‘Desh ka mentors’ program under which students will be guided in making their career choices.