Actor Sonu Sood evaded more than Rs 20 crore in taxes, the Income Tax Department said on Saturday. The department has been conducting raids at several of the actor‘s properties in Mumbai and Lucknow. 

In a statement, the department said that the ‘Dabangg’ actor’s non-profit raised over Rs 2.1 crore from overseas donors using crowdfunding platform, NDTV reported. It said it was in violation of the law Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, which governs such transactions. 

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“During the course of search at the premises of the actor and his associates, incriminating evidences pertaining to tax evasion have been found. 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 department said in its statement. 

“The total amount of tax evaded unearthed so far, amounts to more than ₹ 20 crore”. 

The department had launched the action against the 48-year-old actor and some people linked to him on Wednesday, reports suggesting that recent deals between Sood and a Lucknow-based real estate firm were under their scanner.

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On Wednesday, the action was carried out in at least half a dozen locations in the metropolitan city and Lucknow.

The actor grabbed the national spotlight for helping migrants reach their home states during the nationwide lockdown clamped last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Delhi government, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had recently declared that Sood will be the brand ambassador of the Aam Aadmi Party government’s ‘Desh ka mentors’ programme under which students will be guided in making their career choices. Kejriwal had said on Saturday that Sood had the prayers of lakhs of families of India who got his support in difficult times.

A number of political parties, including the Shiv Sena and AAP, have criticised the raids on Sood, questioning its timing. However, the BJP has quashed rumours of a link between the raids and Sood’s partnership with AAP.