MJ Akbar returns, party sources say Modi to take final call on his continuance as minister

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Oct 14, 2018, 08.19 AM(IST)

File photo of MJ Akbar. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar returned to India Sunday morning. 

There has been a growing clamour for his sacking after at least eight women have accused him of sexual assault and harassment from when he was a newspaper editor. 

The latest charge came on Friday from the US-based journalist Majlie de Puy Kamp who said Akbar forcibly kissed her — she had he put his tongue into her mouth — on her last day in office when she was interning with the Asian Age.

She was 18 at the time. 

Also read: Charges against MJ Akbar will be probed, says BJP president Amit Shah

"There will be a statement later on," Akbar said on landing in Delhi. 

A little later, television news channels began running reports that Akbar had emailed in his resignation but there has been no official confirmation as yet. 

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PTI quoted party sources earlier as saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take the final call on Akbar's continuance as junior foreign minister.

PTI quoted the party sources as saying the charges against Akbar are serious, and his continuance as minister is no longer guaranteed. 

PTI added thought that there is also a view within the party that there is no legal case against Akbar, and that the allegations pertain to a time long before he became a minister.

On Friday, BJP president Amit Shah said that the charges against Akbar would be probed. He added though that anybody can saying anything about anybody on social media, his meaning being that the veracity of the allegations will have to be proved. 

The comments by Shah were among the first on Akbar since he was outed in India's burgeoning #MeToo movement. 

BJP leaders have by and large avoided comment on their colleague. 

Smriti Irani said recently that it was up to the minister to respond to the allegations. Akbar, who was on a tour of Africa, has not done so so far.