Actor-activist Sonu Sood made headlines during the pandemic becoming a household name in helping the migrant workers reach their villages and reunite with their families. He made headlines once again when his house was raided by the Income Tax department for tax evasion. Outlook caught up with Sood to not only to discuss the alleged tax evasion case, but to talk more about his financial discipline, why he believes in saving and how his middle-class upbringing helped him to invest wisely.
The allegation against him was that he raised Rs 20 crores, but spent a very small percentage of it. The messiah status was granted to him after his fabulous work during the pandemic. He has denied these allegations and said that he did feel helpless as he was unable to help those now who needed medical emergency in the last few days.
He says, “My work to help people is still on regarding education and medical help.”
Sood is much more determined than before and feels that nothing should stop and he will continue with the good work. There is an allegation of tax evasion and unsecured loans against him. He explains that the money did not go unused.
“Whatever money was raised through brands for which I didn’t charge any money, and I told those brands who were endorsing me to give that money on donation for the people who needed it for health and education purposes. I made sure whatever money was collected should go to the right place," says Sood.
He feels the cases of pandemic may have come down, but the after effect is huge. There are still medical emergencies, people still don’t have jobs and there are many families who are unable to support the education of their children. The pandemic is never going to end and the negative effect of the pandemic is here to stay.
“I want to make a hospital. When I start a hospital, then the treatment of the patients will be done for free. It’s not like you work for a month and if somebody comes for help on the thirty first day, I have nothing to offer. Pandemic or no pandemic, I should be in a position to help them then as well.”
On being asked about why only Rs 1.9 crores were used out of a total donation of Rs 18.94, Sood explains that the crowd that is coming to him for help at his door. But, it is just the same as it was during the pandemic and he says it is never going to stop.
“The money that has been collected is for long term spending and not just short term. Whether it is helping the patients or helping children with their education be it whatever course that they choose which includes, civil services coaching, BTech, CA. So, this has to be sustainable forever. The idea is whether Sonu Sood is there or not, the Sood Charity foundation will continue to help people," he says.
Talking about financial discipline Sood adds, “I feel financial discipline is very important. As kids my parents used to give us piggy banks so that we could save money. I feel the biggest lesson a parent can give to a child is how you save money and that is how you learn to value money. Then you know if you have to buy something, how much you should spend. That helps the child to learn not only how much to just save money, but also it teaches him/her on how to be careful with money and to spend it wisely.”
For him money saved is money earned, he advises the youngsters to spend less and invest wisely. “I would like to tell the youngsters never to lose hope. Job cuts and salary cuts are a part of life. So just stay strong and give your best!” he signs off.