An embarrassed 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 was planned.
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 people.
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, Mr. 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.
Mr. 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 function.
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. Ms. Dikshit had pulled up Mr. Singhal for harassing the hotel.