Amid nearly 20 sexual assault allegations against him, MJ Abar on Wednesday stepped down as the Minister of State for External Affairs. He said that since he is challenging the 'false accusations' levelled against him, he is stepping down from his post.
Here is the full text of his statement:
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 for External Affairs. I am deeply grateful to the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and to the External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country.
Union Minister MJ Akbar had earlier filed a criminal defamation case against the journalist who levelled sexual harassment allegations on him. Claiming that he is being framed, Akbar had threatened to take legal action against those who have levelled allegations against him. Akbar had said that the accusations against him are spiced up by innuendo and malice.
"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," he had said.
He had also questioned the credibility of the accusations asking how there was a sudden uproar against him ahead of the Lok Sabha elections that are due in 2019. "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," he had said.