Switzerland revealed on Tuesday that India has sought assistance in the investigations into Swiss bank accounts allegedly held by former Union minister Preneet Kaur and her son.
The names of Kaur and her son Raninder Singh were published in notifications by the Switzerland government’s federal gazette. The gazette did not give any details other than their names and nationalities.
Following India’s request, the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) of Switzerland asked Kaur and Singh to file an appeal within ten days for “exercise of the right to be heard”.
Kaur, the wife of former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, was the minister of state for external affairs from 2009-14 in the Manmohan Singh government.
No immediate comments could be obtained from Kaur and her son.
Earlier, when her name had come up in a leaked HSBC list, Kaur had denied having any account in her name with any foreign bank.
She had also said that her statement was recorded earlier by the tax authorities, but she was not shown any document which might indicate having a foreign bank account or a trust.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has said it was moving towards repatriation of hundreds of billions of dollars in slush funds or black money stashed abroad, as part of a wider clampdown on corruption that Modi promised during his election campaign.
Names of several Indians and other foreign nationals have been disclosed in the gazette in recent months following growing global pressure on Switzerland to crack down on its famed banking secrecy practices amid suspicion on these accounts being used to park illicit wealth.
This is the latest in a series of such disclosures made by the FTA about information requests from India and other countries with which Switzerland has mutual assistance treaties in tax-related cases.
As part of its bilateral treaty for administrative assistance and exchange of information with Switzerland, India has sought details about numerous individuals and companies from the Alpine nation as part of its crackdown against suspected black money stashed in Swiss banks.
Over a dozen Indian names have been disclosed so far, while many other requests are pending with the Swiss authorities who conduct their own due diligence before starting the process of sharing the information.