NEW DELHI: Even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that a report had been sought from the Indian High Commission in Pakistan on the activities of Ved Pratap Vaidik and his meeting with 26/11 attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, there were a lot of puzzled faces in South Block over the sudden appearance of the journalist, who despite his penchant for name-dropping, is not a known Track-2 fixture.
With both houses of Parliament repeatedly adjourned due to disruptions by opposition members, two ministers — Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha and Sushma Swaraj in Lok Sabha — had to clarify the government’s position.
“The government totally disapproves of this meeting of Ved Pratap Vaidik... The government condemns this meeting with the chief accused of Mumbai terror attacks,” Sushma told Lok Sabha and asserted that the Indian High Commission has been asked to give a full report, which will be shared with the House. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government has nothing to do with either the visit or the meeting between Vaidik and Saeed. “It is a diplomatic misadventure of a private individual,” he said.
Vaidik, who claims to be a prolific author, writer and journalist, had met with Saeed during his stay in Islamabad. Vaidik also promptly sent a photo of the meeting to journalists — sparking a furore. But, more than a journo, it is his association with Baba Ramdev which has added fuel to the Opposition bid to corner the government. TV channels had showed Vaidik with ex-General V K Singh and greeting Jaitley at a function on black money organised by Ramdev.