The Congress asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clarify whether he stands with the women journalists who have accused M J Akbar of sexual harassment or he backs the defamation case filed by the Union minister.
An Indian minister has slammed allegations of sexual misconduct leveled at him by at least 10 women as "lies" and has filed a lawsuit against the first one who accused him of harassment.
A receptionist at Karanjawala & Co, the law firm handling Akbar's lawsuit, confirmed a suit had been filed, but said all lawyers involved with the case were now tied up in court.
In the interests of a fair probe, moral and public propriety, Mr. Akbar should have resigned till the inquiry is completed, the statement said.
Akbar has since denied all the allegations on his return from an official tour of Africa, calling them "false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice".
MJ Akbar added that such allegations have damaged his reputation and goodwill. "You be the judge", he said.
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The minister has in his latest statement issued on October 14, 2018, questioned the veracity of the allegations and has wondered why those who had levelled such accusations had continued to work with him if all that they had claimed had actually transpired.
Several journalist bodies also expressed "deep disappointment" at Akbar's threat of legal action and demanded he must step down for the sake of an impartial probe into the allegations against him.
Journalist Ghazala Wahab wrote a long #MeToo post for online news website The Wire earlier in the week, accusing Akbar of harassment and saying Akbar had "sexually harassed and molested" her. Moreover, he alleged that these accusations could be an agenda as they have surfaced a few months before the 2019 elections.
Without naming Akbar, Ramani had said how Akbar had invited her to her hotel room for a job interview.
She did not, however, name me as she knew it was an incorrect story.
Akbar's criminal petition claimed that "the accused herself, while putting forward the aforementioned defamatorystatements, relating to incidents which allegedly occurred 20 years ago, simultaneously admits that the complainant has not done anything to her". "He launched India's first weekly political news magazine.", the complaint said and listed out defamatory imputations made by Ramani on social media against him.
In his statement later, Akbar had chose to take legal action against those women, who had accused him of sexual misconduct during his time as the editor of Asian Age and The Telegraph. "Lots of women have worse stories about this predator-maybe they'll share".