Amid reports over sexual harassment MJ Akbar quitting, govt clarifies ‘no resignation yet, he is still in office’


International desk, October 14: Indian Union Minister MJ Akbar on Sunday issued a brazen statement regarding the allegations of sexual harassment and assault against him, stating that he would be taking legal action against the accusers, news agency ANI reported.

In a detailed statement, the Minister of State for External Affairs questioned the timing of the allegations ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“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,” he said.

Claiming that the allegations were a part of “political conspiracy,” the Union Minister said in his detailed statement, “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.”

Calling the accusations against him as “distressing”, Akbar said, “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.”

However, suspense over MJ Akbar’s position in the government continued on Sunday after reports suggested that the Minister of State for External Affairs, who is facing several #MeToo allegations, had quit his post by emailing his resignation to the Prime Minister’s Office. However, the government has clarified that there was ‘no resignation yet’ and that the journalist-turned-politician continued to remain in office, Times Now reported.

Ever since the first accusation of sexual harassment against Akbar was brought to the fore on October 8, critics and opposition parties have been demanding his ouster from the government.  Akbar returned to New Delhi on Sunday after completing his official trip to Nigeria. Shortly after his arrival, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting where he is said to have discussed the matter with senior government officials, sources told Times Now. The Prime Minister’s office was yet to receive the resignation, sources told the news channel, while officials at MJ Akbar’s office remained tight-lipped regarding the developments.