Union minister MJ Akbar refuses to quit, decides to take legal action over #MeToo allegations
The allegations of sexual harassment against MJ Akbar have been made by a number of women journalists, who have come forward as part of the #MeToo movement.
New Delhi, Oct., 14 , 2018: Union minister MJ Akbar has said the allegations of sexual harassment against him are “fabricated” and “spiced up”.
He said he will take legal actions against the women journalists who have levelled these allegations against him.
“The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice. I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour abroad,” said Akbar as he lashed out at the #MeToo campaign. “Accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections,” he added threatening to take appropriate legal action against those who have levelled ‘wild and baseless allegations’ against him.
Calling the allegations as false and motivated, Akbar in his statement said, “It is pertinent to remember that both Ms Ramani and Ms Wahab kept working with me even after these alleged incidents; this clearly establishes that they had no apprehension and discomfort. The reason why they remained silent for decades is very apparent: as Ms Ramani has herself stated, I never did anything.”
Akbar raised questions over the timing of such allegations as they come a few months before the general elections are scheduled to be held.
“Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge. These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill,” ANI quoted Akbar as saying.
On the other hand, the Congress had been demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak up on the issue. Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Anand Sharma on Sunday said, “Why is the PM silent on such an important issue?”
Earlier, the party had demanded that Akbar should step down as the minister of state for external affairs.
Within the Modi government, women ministers like Textiles Minister Smriti Irani and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had earlier spoken on the issue.
While Maneka Gandhi said the matter should be probed, Irani maintained that Akbar must come forward and issue a statement on it.