Minister MJ Akbar resigns as MoS for External Affairs

PTI

File photo of Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar

File photo of Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar

Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar stepped down Wednesday following a spate of allegations of sexual harassment during his days as editor of several publications.

In a brief statement, Akbar said he had decided to seek justice in a court of law in his personal capacity.

“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 levied 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 Minster Smt Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country,” Akbar said in his letter.

Over the last fortnight, about 20 women have come forward to narrate their experiences of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of Akbar.

M J Akbar’s criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani, who has accused him of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago, is scheduled to come up for hearing on Thursday in the Patiala House court in Delhi.

His lawyer Sandeep Kapur said that the private criminal defamation case will come up for hearing on Thursday before additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal.

“Since we have already filed the defamation case, we will pursue it in the court,” the lawyer said.

Akbar on Monday had filed the criminal defamation complaint against Ramani alleging she “wilfully” and “maliciously” made imputations against him with the ulterior motive of maligning his reputation and political standing.

(PTI)