Income tax officials arrived at the home of actor Sonu Sood in Mumbai this morning, following raids on his offices that ended late last night. The tax authorities are investigating the ownership agreement of Sonu Sood with a real estate company based in Lucknow.
Officials searched six locations linked to the actor yesterday, including the charity office of his home in Juhu.
“A recent agreement between Sonu Sood and a Lucknow-based real estate company is under investigation. An investigation has been launched into allegations of tax evasion under this agreement,” sources said, calling it an “investigation”.
Opposition politicians claimed that it was a witch-hunt against the 48-year-old actor, whose charity during the Covid crisis earned him the label of “immigrant messiah”.
Sonu Sood has arranged buses, trains and even flights to transport hundreds of migrants, trapped and helpless in their locker, to their homeland. During the second wave earlier this year, he organized oxygen for patients with Covid.
The raids come just days after the actor’s tumultuous meeting with Delhi Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who declared him ambassador for the “Desh ka Mentors” program for schoolchildren.
Although attracted by politicians and parties, Sonu Sood has always said that his charity has nothing to do with politics.
The meeting with Mr Kejriwal sparked rumors of a political debut, possibly in next year’s Punjab election as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate.
“No politics has been discussed. So far we have not discussed anything political,” Sonu Sud told reporters at a news conference with Quetzriwal.
The BJP has denied that the raids were politically motivated.
“If any central government takes any action, the whole opposition, along with Congress, calls it politics. Should these services be shut down? These companies are transparent,” said BJP Maharashtra MP Ram Ram Kadam.
Former BJP ally and ruling Maharashtra leader Shiv Sena disagreed. Sena spokesman Manisha Kayande criticized what he called “selective targeting” and accused the BJP of “Taliban” ideology.