'Why this storm just before general elections?' MJ Akbar issues statement, moves for legal action

WION Web Team
Delhi, India Published: Oct 14, 2018, 04.00 PM(IST)

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

Story highlights

He further added that he could not respond to the 'false and fabricated' allegations as he was 'on an official tour abroad.'

Shortly after returning to India, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar on Sunday released a detailed statement over sexual harassment allegations against him describing them as "false and fabricated." According to reports, the minister is set to take legal action against accusations made against him.

In his statement, Akbar asked why such allegations were levelled against him just before the general elections?

×

"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," he told the media. 

×

He further added that he could not respond to the "false and fabricated" allegations as he was "on an official tour abroad."

×

"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," Akbar noted. 

×

"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 stated. 

Here is what Akbar stated further:

Priya Ramani began this campaign a year ago with a magazine article. She did not, however, name me as she knew it was an incorrect story. When asked recently why she had not named me, she replied, in a tweet, “Never named him because he didn't 'do' anything."

If I didn't do anything, where and what is the story? There's no story. But a sea of innuendo, speculation and abusive diatribe has been built around something that never happened. Some are total, unsubstantiated hearsay; others confirm, on the record, that I didn’t do anything

Shutapa Paul states, “The man never laid a hand on me.” Shuma Raha says, “I must clarify, however, that he didn’t actually ‘do’ anything”. One woman, Anju Bharti, went to the absurd extent of claiming I was partying in a swimming pool. I do not know how to swim

Another accusation was made repeatedly by Ms Ghazala Wahab, in an effort to damage my reputation. She claimed that she had been molested in office, 21 years ago. This  is 16 years before I entered public life, and when I was in media

The only office where I worked with Ghazala Wahab was that of The Asian Age. A part of the editorial team then worked out of a small hall. At the time concerned, I had a very tiny cubicle, patched together by plywood and glass. Others had tables and chairs two feet away

It is utterly bizarre to believe that anything could have happened in that tiny space, and, moreover, that no one else in the vicinity would come to know, in the midst of a working day. These allegations are false, motivated and baseless.

Pertinent to remember Ms Ramani and Ms Wahab kept working with me even after these alleged incidents; clearly establishes 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.

×

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.

×

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

Read in App