New Delhi: After being accused of sexual harassment by over 15 women, M MJ Akbar resigned from his post on Wednesday. Stating the cause of resignation, Akbar said that he had deinister of State for External Affairscided to “seek justice in a court of law in a personal capacity,” as per the statement tweeted by ANI. He said he would “challenge” the “false accusations” levied against him. At least 15 former colleagues of Akbar have stepped forward and accused him of sexual misconduct during his stint as the editor of The Asian Age.
The first allegation was made by journalist Priya Ramani who named him in a tweet posted on October 8 and later wrote a piece for a news website, detailing her experience with him. In turn, Akbar responded by filing a criminal defamation complaint against Ramani, terming the allegations levelled against him as “baseless” and “fabricated.” “That the scandalous allegations levelled against the complainant, by their very tone and tenor, are ex facie defamatory and have not only damaged the goodwill and reputation of the complainant, in his social circles and on the political stage, established years of toil and hard work, but have also affected the personal reputation of the complainant in the community, friends, family and colleagues, thereby causing him irreparable loss and tremendous distress,” his complaint stated.
After Ramani, over 14 other women also made sexual harassment allegations against him. In a statement issued on Sunday, Akbar had named four other women who had accused him but filed the criminal defamation complaint only against Ramani. After the complaint was filed, as many as 20 journalists who have worked under him went on record to ask the court to “consider testimonies of sexual harassment of some of us at the hands of” Akbar and of others “who bore witness to this harassment.”
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