President Kovind accepts MJ Akbar’s resignation

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday accepted MJ Akbar’s resignation as the Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs amidst strong criticism over multiple sexual harassment allegations against the journalist-turned-politician.

“The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of MJ Akbar from the Union Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution,” read a statement from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

This comes after Akbar earlier today announced his resignation from the Ministry of External Affairs.
“Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity. I have, therefore, tendered my resignation from the office of Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs. I am deeply grateful to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country,” Akbar had said in a statement issued after his resignation.

As many as 20 women, one after another, have come forward and alleged Akbar of sexually harassing them during his journalistic days. The storm around 67-year-old gathered momentum after the #MeToo campaign raged in India.

Akbar had been facing flak over allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women, with opposition parties also mounting attack on the government and demanding his ouster.

After returning from an official visit to Nigeria on Sunday, Akbar had refrained from speaking on the allegations and said, “There will be a statement later on.”

Later on Monday, he filed a defamation case against Priya Ramani – one of the first women, who publicly accused Akbar, her former boss, of sexual misconduct.