New Delhi: An embarrased Delhi Government
has to scrap a scheduled visit of Social Welfare Minister
Mangat Ram Singhal and five other top officials to Sweden
after External Affairs Ministry objected to the way the trip
The MEA, approving the visit reluctantly, had written to
Delhi Government raising question over Social Welfare
Department`s direct approach to Swedish Embassy for finalising
the Minister`s meetings during the trip, top officials said.
Sources said the visit has been cancelled after Chief
Minister Sheila Dikshit came to know about MEA`s terse
observation about the trip.
The Minister, who had been in the news for wrong reasons
in the past too, planned the visit to the European country to
study how they provide social security to the poor and elderly
The MEA, in its communication to Delhi Government
apparently said it did not have any objection to the visit but
the department should not have approached the embassy directly
before seeking the permission for the trip.
Despite repeated attempts, Singhal could not be contacted
while Secretary in the department M K Parida, who was also to
be part of the delegation, did not take any call.
Singhal was in news in May for allegedly harassing a
five-star city hotel after its officials wanted to carry out a
security check of his car when he had gone there for a
Following the incident, inspectors from various
departments including Food Adulteration, Electrical, Labour
and Health went to the hotel to check its compliance with
various government rules. Dikshit had pulled up Singhal for
harassing the hotel.