NEW DELHI: M J Akbar became the first Minister in the Narendra Modi government to resign under the shadow of a controversy, when he quit as the Minister of State for External Affairs on Wednesday.
In his resignation letter, Akbar thanked Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity given to him to serve the country.
Akbar, 67, had been named in multiple accounts that have surfaced in the #MeToo movement that started in India after actress Tanushree Datta accused her co-star Nana Patekar of harassment during a film shoot in 2008.
The defiant minister, however, had ignored calls for his resignation and had instead filed a criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani, who had said that he had behaved inappropriately with her when she met him for job interview.
After Akbar filed the case on Monday, about 20 women journalists came out in support of Ramani, pledging to depose in court.Akbar, had also aggressively denied all charges made by Ramani and others and called them “false”, fabricated” and “politically motivated.”
“That the scandalous allegations levelled against the complainant, by their very tone and tenor, are ex facie defamatory and have not only damaged the goodwill and reputation of the complainant, in his social circles and on the political stage, established years of toil and hard work, but have also affected the personal reputation of the complainant in the community, friends, family and colleagues, thereby causing him irreparable loss and tremendous distress,” the defamation suit filed by him said.