Home India Governance MJ Akbar won’t resign, calls all #MeToo allegations political vendetta

MJ Akbar won’t resign, calls all #MeToo allegations political vendetta

M.J. Akbar
File photo of M.J. Akbar | @mjakbarofficial/Facebook

Junior foreign minister MJ Akbar vows to take legal action for what he calls ‘accusations against evidence’, which have been spreading like ‘viral fever’.

New Delhi: Minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar said Sunday that all the allegations of sexual harassment and assault made against him as part of the #MeToo movement are “false and fabricated”, and dispelled rumours that he would resign.

Hours after landing in Delhi from an official tour to Africa, Akbar reportedly said: “The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice. I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour abroad.”

Giving a political twist to the sordid accounts of at least ten women journalists, Akbar said: “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.”

Akbar reportedly vowed to take legal action for what he called “accusations against evidence”, which were spreading like “viral fever”.

“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 reportedly said.

ThePrint had earlier reported that the during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, ministers were of the view that the government had nothing to do with the allegations levelled against Akbar since no allegation came up after he became minister. A senior minister had stated that Akbar can defend himself after he comes back to India if need be.

The Congress party had demanded Akbar’s ouster over the allegations, as had several women journalists, who said they would boycott Akbar if he did not step down. Maneka Gandhi is the only minister from the current establishment who had asked for a probe into the allegations.


Also read: Modi govt left with little wiggle room as #MeToo allegations stack up against MJ Akbar


Saba Naqvi, one of the journalists who spoke out about Akbar harassing her, had told ThePrint: “As a political journalist, I would like to see every member of the ethics committee of Parliament give a written complaint against him.”

Specific rebuttals

Priya Ramani was among the first woman journalists to write about Akbar as being a harasser, after which many other women came out with their own experiences.

Akbar responded to her allegations, saying: “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.”

There were also allegations of physical molestation by some journalists like Ghazala Wahab, who wrote: “He sneaked up behind me and held me by my waist. I stumbled in sheer fright while struggling to get to my feet. He ran his hands from my breast to my hips. I tried pushing his hands away, but they were plastered on my waist, his thumbs rubbing the sides of my breasts.”

However, Akbar rebutted this allegation too, arguing that he had “a very tiny cubicle” at the time.


Also read: By removing M.J. Akbar from his government, Narendra Modi must do our dirty job


“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 said.

He also said it was pertinent to remember that “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”.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Why the focus on foreign. We have enough Indians; good capable Indians to fill positions. Maybe we should get 20% foreign politicians.

  2. Mr Akbar should have looked the journalists in the eye and SPOKEN these words to them when they were questioning him at the airport. Saying it in a written statement shows his conscience is not clean. But still, it also shows that he is not a hardened politician yet, otherwise he could have easily spoken a hundred lies with a straight face, with a smile to boot!

    MJ Akbar should own up his mistake like a gentleman. He says two of the women CONTINUED to work with him, so their allegations should be false. This is a weak argument. The issue is whether the woman’s “career graph” (CG) displayed any “discontinuity” (D) at the instants pertaining to her accusations against Akbar. (Discontinuity is a term from Calculus: if the value of a function “immediately before” an instant is vastly different from its value “immediately after” that instant, then that function is said to be “discontinuous” at that instant.)

    Did the CG suddenly improve, or did it suddenly take a dip near the time of allegations? If yes, and if she says THAT is the substance of her allegation against Akbar, then the ONUS FALLS ON Akbar to prove that that is not true, if he was HER ONLY BOSS. Which means, if she was reporting to him and he alone had the power to benefit or punish her. Which indeed seems to be the case by the narrative of each of these women.

    And by the method of “proof by induction”, if Akbar is found wanting in convincing explanations in the case of 2-3 women, it will stand proved that allegations of ALL the women against him are valid.

    Another argument that, why these women did not complain so far, is also a weak argument in my opinion. If a witness is allowed “to turn hostile”, then why is the REVERSE of “turning hostile” not allowed by the law? If I say today that ‘something’ is true, and five years later I say ‘that something’ wasn’t true, then in legal parlance I have “turned hostile”, and the law says ‘okay’. Consider the REVERSE of this: five years AGO I did not say that ‘something’ was true, and NOW I am saying that ‘that something’ WAS true, then why should the law not say ‘okay’ in this case AND START DOUBTING MY INTENTIONS? When in the earlier instance, of my turning hostile, the law never cast aspersions on my integrity?

    All these Akbar type of guys who are facing the music now will be proven guilty for “not being able to explain the “discontinuity” in their subbordinate’s Career Graph. Their refuge that, why did the women not complain so far also is a non-argument in my opinion. So, guys, bow gracefully, and own up.

  3. This #MeToo movement of accusing without proving had to some day encounter a stout logical defence and M J Akbar has taken the call. The law, by the way, stand on his side, till this moment. The proponents of gender equality will have to accommodate rebuttals on their face values, like allegations themselves and wait for completion of due legal process which pronounced judgement after comprehensively hearing both sides.

    • If legal proceedings are opted, it will take no less than 25 years to conclude. MJA knows that and he opted to take that option to his advantage.

  4. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the days ahead. In the hands of an accomplished criminal lawyer like Ram Jethmalani, the charges would not stand up in a court of law. In the people’s court, it will be a different matter.

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