‘Accusations Timed for Election, Will Take Legal Action’: MJ Akbar
“This is deeply distressing. I will be taking appropriate legal action,” said the MoS for External Affairs MJ Akbar.
Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar on Sunday, 14 October, claimed the sexual harassment allegations against him are baseless and his lawyers are deciding on a legal course of action, ANI reported.
“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,” said Akbar.
“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.
- 01/02Full statement by MJ Akbar.
- 02/02Full statement by MJ Akbar.
He also said that these allegations are being levelled only due to the upcoming assembly 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 said.
‘Priya Ramani Didn’t Name Me in Her Report’
Commenting on journalist Priya Ramani’s 2017 report in which she hadn’t specifically named Akbar, he said that she couldn’t have mentioned his name is the report as there was no truth to her allegations.
“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."” he said.
Calling the allegations “an agenda”, Akbar said that a “sea of innuendo, speculation and abusive diatribe” has been built around something that never happened.
“If I didn't do anything, where and what is the story? There's no story. But some are total, unsubstantiated hearsay; others confirm, on the record, that I didn’t do anything,” he said.
“Shocked & Dismayed With Akbar’s Statement,” Says Survivor
Former India Today employee Shutapa Paul, who accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment, said that she was “shocked and dismayed” by the minister’s “brazen shaming.”
“I am shocked and dismayed. MJ Akbar’s brazen shaming of all of us is evidence of his sense of entitlement and power. I feel let down by the powers that be. Our fight is the fight for every woman; a fight for justice, a fight against feeling violated in the work place and in daily life. I will not be intimidated by my tormentor and cower down. Truth and justice will prevail. Our right to live and work as independent, equal citizens of India must be.”Shutapa Paul
In his statement, Akbar had claimed:
“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.”
“Ghazala Wahab’s Claims Are Bizzare”
Calling journalist Ghazala Wahab’s claims “bizzare”, he said the allegations were false, motivated and baseless.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he added.
He further said that Wahab continued working with him despite her alleged discomfort, which proves that nothing of such sort ever really happened.
“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. Reason why they remained silent for decades is very apparent, as Ms Ramani has herself stated, I never did anything,” said Akbar.
(With inputs from ANI)
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