I-T sleuths grill man holding US bonds

Investigating officers of the Income Tax department on Friday interrograted Tiruppur-based businessman, TM Ramalingam who was found holding US treasury bonds worth $5 billion. Reports said CBI officials also questioned Ramalingam, although officials refused to comment.

Ramalingam arrived at the I-T department's office in Chennai on Friday morning accompanied by lawyers. Senior officials questioned him over the possession of the US treasury bonds.

The interrogation continued late into the day. Ramalingam's lawyer claimed that his client had not done anything illegal.

A senior official from a the department said the investigation wing of the I-T department was the lead investigators in the case. Other departments will come into the picture after the authenticity of the bonds were verified and a prima facie case has been made out, added the official.

There are also questions raised as to how the case would proceed if the bonds were found to be fake.

The tip-off had come from the branch of a foreign bank in Chennai, following which raids were conducted at his residence at Upputhurai Palayam village on Dharapuram-Palani Road, Coimbatore. The tax department seized US bonds worth Rs 28,000 crore from his premises, among other documents.

An Indian citizen can hold foreign currency assets of up to $200,000 in all forms but the holding has to be overseas.

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