Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar returned to the country on Sunday morning from an official visit to Africa amid calls for his resignation over allegations of sexual harassment and said "there will be a statement later on." According to sources, Akbar wrote a letter to the PMO clarifying his stance and putting forth his side of the story. The government will soon take a decision on whether to retain him as a minister or let him go.
Sources in the BJP admit that the charges against him are serious and his berth on the Cabinet can no longer be guaranteed. A final call on the matter will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they told news agency PTI.
MJ Akbar was in Nigeria when his name came up in the ongoing #MeToo campaign earlier this week. Several journalists, who have worked with him when he was an editor, have accused him of molestation and sexual abuse.
On Friday, BJP president Amit Shah had said that the party will examine the sexual harassment allegations against Akbar even as the Opposition continued to demand his resignation. "Dekhna padega yeh sach hai ya galat (We have to see whether these allegations are true or false). We have to check the veracity of the post and the person who posted it. You can also post something using my name," The Times of India quoted Shah as saying.
The Opposition Congress demanded Akbar to either clarify or tender his resignation. The Grand Old Party also took a dig at Modi for not speaking on the issue and said that “Modi and morals travel in opposite direction”.
"Modi and morals travel in opposite direction,” Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil told reporters during a press conference in Delhi on Friday.
“Modi will not seek Akbar's resignation on moral grounds but if he fears his vote bank is affected and he will suffer politically, then keeping this in mind he will even sack him. if need be he will take Akbar's head, for the sake of his 'sultanate',” Gohil added.