T.M. Ramalingam, a trader based at Dharapuram, Tirupur, from whose house international bills of exchange with a face value of $5 billion were seized, will have to appear before Income-Tax authorities in Chennai again on January 11.

He was questioned for nearly 10 hours on Friday. “They have asked me to come again for another round of interaction,” Mr. Ramalingam told The Hindu here on Saturday after returning from Chennai.

Forty-minute break

I-T officials had questioned him from 11.50 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. “In between, they gave me a 45-minute break to take lunch and provided me tablets to bring down my fever,” he said.

He refused to divulge details of questions posed by the officials. The officials were polite despite bombarding him with questions, he said.

Mr. Ramalingam was disappointed that the I-T officials did not allow his lawyers to accompany him during the questioning.

When contacted, I-T department sources told The Hindu that it was not an interrogation and only a ‘fact-finding’ session where he was only asked about the sources of income, and no points of law were involved. “In such cases, lawyers cannot be allowed inside,” they said.

Mr. Ramalingam claimed that he had filed I-T returns for two years for his company Baranidhar Refinery Private Limited. He claimed that he had two companies — Vallinayagi Traders and Baranidhar Refinery. Baranidhar Refinery was registered with the Registrar of Companies. He was unable to file I-T returns for Vallinayagi Traders and Commission Agencies for the last four years.

The trader said he had rented out a portion of his land adjacent to his house at Dharapuram to a petrol bunk. The petroleum company had not given the TDS (tax deducted at source) certificate for the last four years for the rental and hence, he was unable to file the I-T returns for Vallinayagi Traders.

Did not try

to encash bills

Mr. Ramalingam said he had a PAN card and had never made any attempt to encash the bills of exchange.

To a question whether the bills of exchange seized were in Singapore dollars, he replied in the negative.

  • They were polite despite bombarding him with questions

  • Lawyers not allowed to be present