TN bizman T M Ramalingam grilled by IT sleuths over Rs 28,000 cr US govt bonds

I-T officials today interrogated a Tamil Nadu businessman from whose residence US Government bonds with a face value of Rs 28,000 crore (USD five billion) were recovered by them during a raid.

Tirupur district-based T M Ramalingam, with business interests in farm implements and commodity trade, was grilled by a team of senior Income Tax officials at the department office here, I-T sources said.

The seizure of the bonds with such huge value has stumped many including the tax authorities in view the low-profile of the businessman from Upputhurai Palayam near Dharapuram in the district, known for its knitwear export units, neighbouring Coimbatore.

Ramalingam, accompanied by his lawyers, arrived at the I-T office in the morning and the grilling was still continuing, the sources said.

I-T officials were tightlipped on the progress of the investigation into the seizure made on December 31.

However, doubts persist about the genuineness of the bonds as individuals are not allowed to hold foreign securities worth such a large amount and the total amount seized in this haul represents nearly one-tenth of the total US treasury holding of the Indian Government.

The department has decided to approach US authorities to get validated the authenticity of these securities.

I-T sources had said the bonds will also be sent to the tax department's forensic laboratory in Mumbai to ascertain their "genuineness".

The I-T raid followed Ramalingam's reported application to the Petroleum and Chemicals Ministries, seeking sanction to set up a Rs 1,000 crore crude oil refinery in Ramanathapuram District of Tamil Nadu.

Ramalingam used to make frequent trips to countries like Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia. A year ago, he had applied for sanction to set up the refinery in Thondi.

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