NEW DELHI, India, May 1, (Reuter); Indian companies and individuals have sought an amnesty from the Central Bank for keeping 670 million rupees (52 million dollars) of undeclared wealth abroad, a government minister said.

Minister of State for Finance Brahm Dutt told Parliament yesterday the Reserve Bank of India had received 475 declarations under a scheme for voluntary disclosure of money kept abroad.

The Foreign Exchange Regulations Act requires Indians to declare all their wealth and business investments abroad.

But the analysts said its tough penal provisions determs from bringing into the country millions of dollars of undeclared wealth stashed in foreign banks.

The scheme announced by the Finance Ministry last November said Indian nationals and local companies would not be penalized for repatriating such assets if they declare them voluntarily by March 31st, this year.

Dutt said the Central Bank was evaluating the declarations received from 30 to 40 countries. A decision would then be taken on whether the amnesty period should be extended.

Financial scandals involving huge payoffs on defense contracts have included Prime Minister Gandhi’s government.

Gandhi told Parliament this week he had asked the Swedish government to inquire whether the Bofors arms control company secured a 1.3 billion dollar artillery contract after making payoffs to Indian politicians and officials, as alleged by Swedish radio and which Bofors has denied.

Opposition parties have said much of the foreign exchange earned by Indian arms is kept in foreign banks to avoid taxes.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 8, 1987