Several women colleagues of MJ Akbar have come out with allegations of sexual misconduct against him when he held senior editorial positions in a number of media organisations. Akbar was on an official foreign tour when these accusations were levelled against him. He returned to India on Sunday and issued a lengthy statement.
In his statement he 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. 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.”
Questioning the timings of the accusations 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.”
Rubbishing the accusations one by one in his statement, the Minister explained that the women who accused him continued to work as his colleagues after the alleged incidents.
“It is pertinent to remember that both Ms Ramani and Ms Wahab kept working with me even after these alleged incidents; this clearly establishes that they had no apprehension and discomfort. The reason why they remained silent for decades is very apparent: as Ms Ramani has herself stated, I never did anything,” he said.
He also issued a detailed statement on Twitter where he has reiterated that the accusations against him are bizarre and fabricated. He has reiterated that most women themselves have admitted that he ‘didn’t do anything’. The two others who came up with allegations have been refuted in details.
He talks of allegations levelled by one Ghazala Wahab and said that her allegations date back 21 years when he had a tiny cubicle, working at a newspaper, where it was impossible to do anything with others not noticing. As for allegations by one Priya Ramani, he said that she started her ‘campaign’ a year ago without naming him and has also admitted that he ‘didn’t do anything’. MJ Akbar also reiterated that he will be initiating legal action against the ones who have, according to him, made false allegations.
— M.J. Akbar (@mjakbar) October 14, 2018
He made no indication regarding stepping down from his position contrary to what was being reported.