The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaitly jab at Naipaul

New Delhi, Jan. 16: When it comes to Tehelka, Samata Party leader Jaya Jaitly cannot resist her temptation to speak. And so she did this time as well, refusing to spare even Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul, an overseas sympathiser of her party’s political ally.

Naipaul came under attack from Jaitly for expressing his “profound disappointment” over the way the Centre treated Tehelka at a news conference on Tuesday.

“I request Sir Vidia and his Pakistani wife not to play politics in India on behalf of his website friends and to keep himself away from the dirt and machinations about which he claimed to have no interest,” Jaitly said in an acidic statement issued to the press today.

Reacting to the Samata leader’s statement, Tehelka’s editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal said: “Good luck to Jaya and her view of politics, literature and the world,” he said.

In her statement, Jaitly said: “Let him retain his respect as a writer and not lend his stature where it is not called for.”

She recalled having sent a letter to Naipaul in November congratulating him for the Nobel Prize.

Being a director on the board of Tehelka, Naipaul should have been intellectually honest to take notice of the tampering of tapes the portal indulged in, she said. The pursuit of truth requires forensic examination of the original tapes, Jaitly added.

“As a director of the board, this is also a matter that should concern him for the sake of the credibility of the website,” she said.

Jaitly said she has received a letter from the Nobel laureate’s wife Nadira stating that Naipaul “has a larger historical interest in India and is removed from the dirt churned by the day to day machinations of democracy and is not interested in it either”.

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