Now that Bofors have issued a certificate to Amitabh Bachchan exonerating him and his family from having received any commission, many more Indians have applied for similar certificates.
An official at Bofors pointed out a heavy mail bag to me and said: "This came in today's first post, and, in Sweden, we have four deliveries a day. We have been receiving so many applications that we find it difficult to cope with them."
"Exactly how many applications have you received so far?" I asked.
"We are still counting but it runs into several millions," the official said. "Let us say we get at the rate of 20-25 million applications per day, including Sundays."
"Do you check every application to see whether you have paid the applicant commission or not?" I asked.
"Certainly, we are not in the business of issuing false certificate," the official said. "Each application is processed by our staff, then fed into the computer, which gives out the exact position."
" I must say you are very thorough. Do you reply to all the applicants?"
"Each and every one of them," the official said. "Though I can assure you it takes away a lot of our time. Our entire staff is engaged in replying to the applications and we have had no time to make guns."
"How long does it take an applicant to receive a certificate from the day the sends his application?" I asked.
"I am afriad we have a long waiting list. We have not yet completed the first batch of applications received the day after Mr. Bachchan made public his certificate. Through you, we would like to inform the people out there in India that we are doing our best ot expedite matters, but we request their patience."
"Is there any attempt to influence and get a certificate from you ahead of the other?" I asked.
"Well, some people do try to jump the queue by telling us that they are friends of persons to whom we have paid commissions, but we don't make any exceptions," the official said. "It is strictly first come-first-served basis, except for politicians."
"I was going to ask you that," I said. "What types of Indians are applying for the certificates."
"All types," the official said. "Politicians, and businessmen are in the majority, but there are lawyers, film stars, government officials, hoteliers. You name them, they are there."
"You said earlier that you are finding it difficult to cope with the number of application. What do you intend to do?" I asked.
"What can we do! As long as there are applications, we will have to answer them. Bofors cannot neglect its duty," the official said.
"Would it not be simple to just name the person or persons who have taken the commissions?" I asked.
"It would be but your government may not approve of it," the official said.