Indians make heroes easily but there still has been a celebrity who managed to grab the headlines in India during one of the most challenging times of the Covid19 pandemic. The celebrity who could still stand out was non-other than Sonu Sood, who was all over the social media and news due to his image of the celebrity icon ready to help anyone who is in need.
His iconic stature was to soon come into the scanner as he was rising as a celebrity icon hell-bent on helping humanity when many others chose to share Instagram images of families with a dog confined to the safety of their homes.
But this dream run had to come to a reckoning, Sonu Sood soon found himself under the scanner of the Central Board of Direct Taxes who moved to conduct an IT raid at his residence in Mumbai.
With IT raids normally we normal mortals don’t have the privilege to know the technical details, but as if it were from a godsend message we were fed information that it was all fishy. This modus operandi of the government agencies are so evident that the less the said the better.
In terms of technicality, you are not supposed to reveal details about an ongoing investigation unless you are subservient to your masters.
The poor Sood had initially dispensed a statement after being accused of evading tax of ₹20 crores. He now takes us through all that transpired on the day of the fateful IT raid.
TOI reports Sonu saying, “It was a surprise when one day they came in early in the morning. While my elder son was traveling, my younger son got stuck in the house for many days as you can’t leave the house till the officials are done with their duties. I am a very good host.
He adds, “I told them that since they were going to be our guests for the next three-four days, I would like to make this a special experience for them I told them, ‘You might be doing so many raids through the year, but at the time of leaving my place, you will say that this was the best experience so far.’”
He explained that during the 3-4 days of inquiry, the officials would ask for documents, and Sood would provide them. After four days, they admitted to this being their best experience so far. When they left, I said, ‘I am going to miss you,’ and we all had a good laugh. They said, ‘We know the kind of work that you have been doing. It is phenomenal.’ They were kind and sweet.”
Following the IT raid of his properties, Sood addresses many allegations that have surfaced against him, saying, “I don’t have an inch of land in Jaipur or Lucknow as alleged and we have already provided the documents for that.
As far as the violation of the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) norms go, my foundation is not registered, so I can’t receive these funds.”
Speaking of the tax evasion charge, he says, “There is not even one dollar, one cent or a penny that has reflected in my account. Every single person that we treated medically, we have given all the documents related to it, like the details of the patient, hospital, doctor, even their PAN numbers and phone numbers have been provided to the officials.”
Sood explains why only Rs 1.9 crore was put to use while the rest was unutilized, “During the first wave, when I started helping the migrants, we weren’t collecting money then. I started collecting funds (for my foundation) only in the last four-five months. As per rules, I have over seven months more to use these funds. I am not going to waste people’s hard-earned money.”
He adds that a lot of it was his own contribution. “At times 100 percent of the remuneration I have charged for brand endorsement went directly to my foundation.
So, the funds in the foundation are also my personal funds. I have had little kids breaking their piggy banks to 60o or 800, a blind woman donating her five months’ pension — this amount is not less than crores of rupees for me.
Talking about what lays ahead, he says, “I have to make sure that every single penny we have gets utilized in the right way. So, I am planning to open a hospital in Hyderabad. The idea is that in the next 50 years, whether Sonu Sood remains or not, the free treatment of patients should continue with this charitable hospital.
Sonu further says, “My dreams are big and I am on a mission. It will be a state-of-the-art, free of cost, medical facility of the best of quality for the needy. We are already working on an orphanage and school, too. Every project is in place.”
What do you think of his revelations? Tell us through the comment.