Sports Contest

Relationship with MJ Akbar 'not consensual', says Pallavi Gogoi, vows to continue to speak truth

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 04 November 2018, 12:02 AM
Former Union minister MJ Akbar
Former Union minister MJ Akbar

A day after former Union minister MJ Akbar denied accusations of rape by Pallavi Gogoi, the US-based journalist on Saturday dismissed his claims that it was a "consensual relationship", saying a relationship based on "coercion and abuse of power" is not consensual.

The former Asian Age editor, who has been accused by over a dozen women of sexual harassment, countered the rape allegation levelled by Gogoi, his former colleague in the newspaper, on Thursday. Gogoi came out to narrate her ordeal she went through nearly two decades ago.

On Friday, 67-year-old Akbar, who recently resigned as junior foreign minister following a spate of #MeToo allegations, denied accusations of rape by Gogoi who, in her article, recounted the "most painful memories" of her life and said she was in "shreds -- emotionally, physically, mentally".

Gogoi, now the chief business editor of National Public Radio (NPR), a Washington-based American media organisation, took to Twitter and said she stands by every word in her published account in The Washington Post.

She added that she would continue to speak her truth so that other women, who have been sexually assaulted by him, know it is okay for them to come forward and speak their truth too.

In a statement, Akbar said: "Somewhere around 1994, Ms Pallavi Gogoi and I entered into a consensual relationship that spanned several months. This relationship gave rise to talk and would later cause strife in my home life as well. This consensual relationship ended, perhaps not on the best note.

"People who worked with me knew both of us and that have indicated that they would be happy to bear testimony to what is stated above and at no stage, did the behaviour of Pallavi Gogoi, give any one of the impression that she was working under duress."

Terming Gogoi's claim a complete 'lie', Akbar's wife Mallika also came out in his support and said, "I don't know Pallavi's reasons for telling this lie, but a lie it is".

"I have been silent all this while as a ‘me too’ campaign has been unleashed against my husband, Mr MJ Akbar. However, the Washington Post article by Pallavi Gogoi alleging that she was raped by him forces me to step in with what I know to be true," Mallika said.

"Over 20 years ago, Pallavi Gogoi caused unhappiness and discord in our home. I learned of her and my husband’s involvement through her calls and her public display of affection in my presence. In her flaunting the relationship, she caused anguish and hurt to my entire family," she alleged.

"At an Asian Age party at our home, crowded with young journalists, I have watched with mortification and pain as they danced close. I had confronted my husband at the time and he decided to prioritise his family," Akbar's wife claimed.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Saturday, November 03, 2018 10:44 PM
For all the latest India News Download the News Nation App available on Android and iOS.