Coimbatore: People in India are still absorbing the news with a sense of disbelief. Used as they are to the multi-billion (in dollars please) scams of the recent past, they still get over the reports that have appeared about an apparently ‘nobody’ who was caught with $5 billion worth of US Bonds. According to published reports, the investigation wing of India’s Income Tax (I-T) department in Coimbatore seized the US treasury bonds from a 45-year- old man claiming to be a financial broker-cum-business consultant in Dharapuram in Tirupur district.
The bonds were seized in a raid on December 31 at the residence of T M Ramalingam on Dharapuram-Palani Road near Upputhurai, about 80 kms from Coimbatore, in Tirupur district. The investigating officers have also seized other financial documents from him including Rs 1.5 crore in fixed deposit receipts from banks in Tirupur district.
Investigators have sent the seized bonds to the financial intelligence unit wing in New Delhi for verifying its authenticity. “We have seized the bonds and are now trying to verify whether those are genuine. The raid was conducted on Wednesday on the basis of a tip-off from financial consultants. This appears to be the most baffling raid as the individual does not seem like a person who could raise such a huge amount. But we are verifying and tracking his financial transaction and business dealings to confirm these details,” a senior I-T official told the media.
According to I-T officials, Ramalingam, who claims to be a financial broker involved in numerous business deals, was in possession of the bonds issued by the US Federal Reserve, which had his name and address printed on it. Sources claimed the dates mentioned on the bonds were 2014 and 2015. “It looks genuine but we cannot confirm anything at the moment,” said a senior I-T official.
Ramalingam was caught following a ‘sting’ operation by the IT department. But till the authenticity of the Bonds are confirmed, nobody is saying anything, in order not to come across as fool. But if the Bonds are indeed genuine, it will throw open such a can of worms, the kind that even India has not seen.