- According to sources, the I-T survey was conducted in connection with a suspected tax evasion probe.
- Officials are allegedly investigating a land deal between Sood’s firm and a Lucknow real estate company.
- The raids came only days after Sonu Sood met with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in a high-profile meeting.
Tax searches at Sonu Sood’s Mumbai offices finished late last night. According to reports, income tax officials spent 20 hours examining six locations associated with the actor. The income tax department, according to sources, is looking into Sonu Sood’s property deal with a Lucknow-based real estate business.
“We are investigating a recent deal between Sonu Sood’s company and a Lucknow-based real estate firm.” The survey mission was launched in response to allegations of tax fraud in this deal,” sources claimed.
Opposition leaders dubbed it a witch hunt against the 48-year-old actor, who has been hailed as a “messiah of migrants” for his philanthropy during last year’s pandemic lockdown, which left many without employment or shelter and stuck far from home.
Sonu Sood organised buses, trains, and even flights to transport hundreds of migrant workers back to their home state. Even during the second wave earlier this year, he stepped in to organise oxygen for Covid patients.
The raids came just days after the actor’s high-profile meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who named him brand ambassador for a “Desh ka Mentors” school-student mentoring initiative.
Though he has always stated that his charitable work has nothing to do with politics, his meeting with Mr Kejriwal has fueled speculation that he may make his political debut as an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate in the Punjab election next year.
“No politics was discussed. As of now we have not discussed anything political,” Sood told reporters during a news conference with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
However, the BJP has asserted that the raids were politically motivated.
“That has nothing to do with it (the Kejriwal meeting). Any personality can meet anyone. It’s only a search, not a raid. It’s based on a tip. It is not necessary that the person who heads charity has done anything wrong… It has to be something on a lower level. Income tax is a separate department with its own set of rules. It is doing its job,” the BJP’s spokesperson, Asif Bhamla, stated.
Mr. Kejriwal stated that there were millions of hurdles on the path of the truth, but the truth always prevailed. “Sonu Sood has the blessings of lakhs of families whom he has assisted through their difficult times,” he said on Twitter.