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'Bond billionaire' Ramalingam undergoes I-T interrogation

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

T M Ramalingam, arrested earlier this week after being found with $5 billion of what seem to be US treasury bonds, hasn’t filed an income tax (I-T) return for four years, one was told.

The I-T department, which was questioning him till late tonight, says it has approached the US government in the case, as he’s told it he got the US bonds in exchange for gold bonds.

“WE are conducting an extensive investigation of the findings. So far, the person (Ramalingam) has been giving different versions,” said S Murali Mohan, additional director, I-T. “As of now, he’s mentioning that he go it in exchange from a Brazil-based person.”

The department has also seized fixed deposits worth Rs1.83 crore in the names of Ramalingam and his son, with State Bank of India and Karur Vysya Bank.

CBI steps in
A senior I-T official said officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation had also come to their office, on request. However, they were not present at the questioning sessions.

The department says it is verifying if the bills of exchnage seized are genuine or not, plus the details in what he’s told them so far. It says these have been also sent to other agencies. “So far, we have not got any confirmation from any of the agencies. Probably by next week, we will get a confirmation, by which time we will call a press conference,” said Mohan. The banks in question and the Reserve Bank have been asked to check, too.

Among the things being verified are whether Ramalingam was a front for someone else and his political links.

First Published: Sat, January 05 2013. 00:31 IST