Published On : Wed, Oct 17th, 2018

Union minister MJ Akbar resigns

NEW DELHI: MJ Akbar resigns as Minister of State (External Affairs). Akbar, issues a statement saying, “Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down and challenge the false accusations levied against me in my personal capacity.”

Akbar also thanked PM Modi and External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for giving him the opportunity to serve the country.

Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women journalists, when he was an editor with the Asian Age and the Telegraph, has been under pressure to step down. Hours after returning from a trip to Africa, the Union minister issued a statement trashing the charges against him, saying accusations without evidence has become a “viral fever” among some sections and filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani.

Ramani on Monday asserted that she was ready to fight the defamation complaint and expressed disappointment over the minister’s statement, saying it paid no heed to the “trauma and fear of the survivors”. “I am ready to fight the allegations of defamation laid against me as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence,” she had said.

Yesterday, over 20 women journalists, who worked with The Asian Age newspaper, came out in support Ramani. The journalists have urged the court to hear their testimonies against Akbar, claiming that some of them suffered sexual harassment by the minister and others have been a witness to it.