In a major embarrassment for the Indian government, the Swiss Justice Department on Monday said it had received forged documents from New Delhi two years ago in connection with an alleged Rs.40,000 crore ($8 billion) money laundering case involving racehorse breeder Hassan Ali.
"The documents submitted are forged," Folco Galli, a spokesperson for the Swiss government, told a private Indian TV channel Monday. He said the Indian government was dragging its feet on the issue of retrieving black money believed to be stashed away in foreign banks.
The official said the Indian government had submitted forged documents to the Swiss authorities in January 2007 in the $8 billion Hassan Ali money laundering case. Pune-based stud farm owner Ali is alleged to have illegally transferred the money to Swiss bank accounts and had come on the Enforcement Directorate's radar.
Galli also claimed the Swiss government submitted certain queries to its Indian counterpart in April 2007 but had not received a reply even 24 months later.
"India makes only few requests per year to Switzerland for legal aid in tracking down black money," he said.
The black money issue has become a major campaign topic in the Lok Sabha polls, with the Bharatiya Janata Party promising that if voted to power it would bring back the billions of rupees stashed away abroad. The United Progressive Alliance government has claimed in the Supreme Court that it has been doing what it can to bring back the black money.