‘Is there an agenda?’: #MeToo-accused minister MJ Akbar opts legal action

New Delhi: Union Minister MJ Akbar – who has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women under #MeToo campaign – on Sunday said that he would take legal action against the said accusations.

As per news agency ANI, the junior foreign minister has released a detailed statement wherein he said, “Accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections. Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action.”

He also stressed at the timing of the accusations – “which have risen a few months before a general election.”

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, ”Akbar said.

Lies do not have legs, but they do contain poison, which can be whipped into a frenzy. This is deeply distressing. I will be taking appropriate legal action” he added.

After arriving from Nigeria on Sunday morning, the junior foreign minister – in response to questions from journalists – said: “there will be a statement later on”.

Akbar left straight for his official residence from the Delhi airport, dodging pointed questions from several reporters.

Also read: ‘He forced his tongue into my mouth’: Woman who was harassed by Akbar when she was an 18-yr-old intern

End to conflicting reports

  • However, there were conflicting reports since morning on whether he has sent in his resignation.
  • As per an earlier TV report, MJ Akbar had already tendered his resignation through email to the PMO, which was yet to be accepted as Prime Minister Modi’s decision was awaited.
  • But, several other media reports denied any such development.

Also read:  Stoic silence on MJ Akbar: This is how our political leaders reacted to #MeToo movement

#MeToo accusers against Akbar

The women who have accused Mr Akbar of sexual harassment in the #MeToo campaign sweeping the nation are mostly journalists who worked with him or appeared for job interviews when he was editor.

The accusations started flowing in after journalist Priya Ramani tweeted on October 8 that Mr Akbar was the man who had harassed her in an incident she shared in an article for Vogue India a year ago, when the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the US triggered the #MeToo movement.

The women who have spoken out against MJ Akbar, as part of the #MeToo movement include Prerna Singh Bindra, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul, Anju Bharti, Suparna Sharma, Shuma Raha, Malini Bhupta, Kanika Gahlout, Kadambari M Wade, Majlie de Puy Kamp.

Political stand

  • The BJP has not commented on the charges, though individual ministers have supported the movement.
  • The opposition Congress has demanded his resignation after he was accused of sexual harassment by many women journalists who had worked with him when he was an editor.
  • Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah said that he was not in a position to comment on Akbar as the claims against the Union minister needed to be “looked into”.
  • Several union ministers have expressed solidarity with victims of sexual harassment, without mentioning Akbar, but minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi has asked for an investigation against him.