Undeterred by his defamation case against one of the 14 accusers in the raging #MeToo campaign, another woman has come out with the allegations of sexual harassment against Union Minister MJ Akbar.
Tushita Patel, also a journalist, alleged that Akbar had kissed her forcibly and once greeted her dressed only in his underwear. In an article published in the Scroll.in, Patel, who was part of the team that started the Asian Age, said that she was surprised by the "complete lack of contrition and attempt to victim shame".
"I am reading with indignation, but not surprise, about your complete lack of contrition, your lies, your facetious arguments, your lack of sensitivity in your attempt to victim shame and some remarkably stupid statements. If I don't speak up now, I feel I'll be complicit in your crimes," Patel wrote in the article.
Patel said that her first encounter with the journalist-turned minister was in 1992 when she was a trainee in the Telegraph – one of the newspapers Akbar headed. Expressing her ordeal, she said that Akbar had called her to meet him in his hotel room.
"You opened the door dressed only in your underwear. I stood at the door, stricken, scared and awkward. You stood there like the VIP man, amused by my fear... Does greeting a 22-year-old in a state of undress pass your test of morality? Is that not "doing" something?" she wrote.
In another incident, Patel said that the BJP leader had allegedly summoned her to his hotel room for some work and sexually harassed her.
"Suddenly you got up, grabbed me and kissed me hard - your stale tea breath and your bristly moustache are still etched in the recesses of my memory. I wriggled out and ran till I reached the road, jumped into an auto rickshaw and started crying."
She asked the Union Minister to “stop lying” and dared to see him in the court.
"...So please stop with the lying... And enough with the legal intimidation - we can see you in court too. We are not confused, conflicted or vulnerable any more. Our time to speak is now - when we don't have to run to a police station to lodge a complaint before anyone would give us a hearing."
MJ Akbar had been accused of sexual harassment by at least 14 women as part of the #MeToo movement gripping the country. He, however, denied the charges and even filed a defamation case against one of the accusers - Priya Ramani.