Taxmen search Tamil Nadu agri-product trader's house

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 02, 2013 17:40 hrs

Chennai, Jan 2 (IANS) An application to set up crude oil petroleum refinery at an outlay of $28 billion or the purchase of a new car might have brought the Income Tax (IT) officials to his door, said an agricultural product trader in Tirupur in Tamil Nadu Wednesday.

However, he declined to comment on the alleged $5 billion worth of US treasury bonds that surprised the taxmen during the searches.

Speaking to IANS, T.M. Ramalingam said: "I had submitted an application to set up a crude oil refinery in Ramanathapuram district at an outlay of $28 billion. Perhaps that or my recent purchase of a new car might have brought the tax officials to my door."

Queried about the $5 billion US treasury bonds that surprised the tax officials, he said: "As the matter is under investigation I would not like to comment any further. The bonds are current."

When pressed for the source of funding for the bonds or whether he was holding them for somebody else, Ramalingam said: "They are in my name. The matter is under investigation and I do not want to comment further."

Ramalingam has been in the business of trading in agricultural products for the past 15 years.

When asked about the funding source for the refinery project, he said: "Once I get the licence, then I would have approached the banks for loan."

According to him, the raiding IT team was cordial and he had answered the questions raised by the sleuths.

"They have sealed a bank locker in which I had kept some jewellery and also a table drawer at my home," Ramalingam said.

The IT officials are tight-lipped about their Dec 31 raid at Ramalingam's premises.

"I will not confirm or deny the raid and the seizure of the US treasury bonds," a senior IT official told IANS.

He said the headquarters in New Delhi will come out with clarification after verifying the papers sent there.

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