Switzerland named Lalit Modi and his wife Minal on Tuesday among those about whom India has sought information and assistance related to income tax investigations.
In two separate gazette notifications issued on ‘assistance’ matters, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) also gave Lalit Modi and his wife 10 days for “exercise of the right to be heard”.
Without divulging further details, the FTA notifications asked them to inform about an authorised person in Switzerland within 10 days to receive notifications.
One notification has been issued for “Lalit Kumar Modi, Indian national”, while the other one is for “Minal Modi alias Minalini Modi”.
Email and SMS queries to former Indian Premier League commissioner about the notifications elicited no response.
In the past, several other Indian nationals have been named in such notifications after the Swiss FTA was approached by Indian authorities for information about those people with regard to the pending tax-related probes against them.
After a due process prescribed under the Swiss law, the information has been shared by Switzerland with India in several cases, pursuant to which the Indian authorities -- including the tax department and Enforcement Directorate -- have proceeded with their prosecution and other actions.
These included several Indians named in the leaked ‘HSBC List’ of people with accounts in the Geneva branch of the global banking giant.
The latest notifications come days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Switzerland on an official visit, during which discussions are expected on further strengthening of ties between the two countries in the fight against black money suspected to be stashed by Indians in Swiss banks.
The former IPL commissioner, who is said to have left India for London in 2010, is facing a money-laundering probe and the ED has asked the external affairs ministry to seek his extradition from the UK. He has been denying any wrongdoing.
The ED wants Lalit Modi to join investigations in a case relating to the Indian Premier League after an FIR was registered against him and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
For long, Switzerland used to be known for strict secrecy clauses about details of foreigners having accounts in its banks. Under growing global pressure, Switzerland has, however, begun sharing information in cases where other countries have been able to present some evidence of suspected illegalities.
Under the Swiss law, a prescribed procedure is followed for any administration assistance or information exchange by the FTA with India or any other country with which the Alpine nation has tax treaties about their respective nationals.