VANCOUVER -- A BC Liberal candidate in Surrey is defending himself against allegations of forgery levelled in a lawsuit over a property deal that fell apart three years ago.

The candidate, Dave Hans in Surrey-Guildford, says the dispute began with another lawsuit he filed first, and says it’s no coincidence his former business partner is speaking out towards the end of an election campaign.

“I initiated this matter and brought it in front of court myself,” Hans told CTV News, saying he was the one trying to set things right after the deal went south.

Hans, who is a professional engineer, says he and a business partner, Aditya Sood, entered into a joint venture to purchase the lands.

But Hans claimed in court documents that Sood sold the land for $1.6 million without him instead. So he sued, claiming in court documents that the "relationship been Sood and Hans broke down" and that "Sood has been unjustly enriched.”

A Supreme Court judge ordered that $800,000 – half of the property sale proceeds – be held in trust while the lawsuits are sorted out.

But Sood told CTV News on Wednesday that he’s the victim, alleging in his own lawsuit that their business agreement was forged. He pointed to a report he commissioned for the lawsuit that questions the signatures on the document.

“We ordered a signature expert saying this signature is not our signature,” he said. “My signature is the question mark. Who signed that?”

The lawsuit was supposed to be dealt over the summer, but court time was hard to get during a pandemic, said Sood’s lawyer, Pavan Grewal.

And she said the parties are looking at court dates as late as 2022.

“All of that depends on COVID and that has caused a number of delays,” she said.

With only about a week to go before the election, the dispute has been covered widely in a variety of Punjabi-language media outlets in Surrey.

That’s prompted Hans to ask his lawyer to send Sood a cease-and-desist letter.

“Our client strongly suspects that your malicious campaign of vilification is conducted for the malicious purpose of increasing the pressure on Mr. Hans to settle the dispute which has tied up the land and now your capital,” wrote lawyer David Sutherland.

But Sood denied his interviews have been anything but responses to questions from the media.

“My focus is not to ruin a political career. When my case was started in 2018, I didn’t know that two years later he would be standing for the election. I can’t see the future,” he said.