Amid the hubbub around high profile names being called out about the #MeToo movement, M.J. Akbar’s case has stood out due to a number of reasons. First and the most obvious reason being the prominent position he held as the minister of state for external affairs. Another appalling aspect is the string of accusations by a number of women across different periods of time.
Akbar has had an impressive career in journalism before he segued into the world of politics in 1989. Almost all of the allegations that have been made are from his time as editor in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
The current stance he has taken towards all of these accusations is a defensive one. He has termed these claims as “fabricated”, “malicious” with an intent to defame him. He holds that these allegations have a political agenda keeping the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in mind.
He has been accused by at least a dozen women, lead by Priya Ramani, for sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour. He initially refused to comment but the building pressure on the public image of BJP has led to his resignation ten days after the accusations were first made. M.J. Akbar fully intends to fight back. He has since filed a Defamation suit against Priya Ramani who enjoys full support and a promise of testimonials from more than twenty victims.
In his official statement he said, “Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levelled against me, also in a personal capacity, I have, therefore, tendered my resignation from the office of minister of state for external affairs. I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country.”