National

#Me Too: MJ Akbar Denies Rape Charges By US-Based Journalist, Wife Comes In Support

PRERNA YADAV | 0
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| November 2 , 2018 , 16:51 IST

The chief business editor of NPR, Pallavi Gogoi alleged Editor-turned-politician MJ Akbar of sexual harassment.

US-based journalist Pallavi, wrote a first-person account in The Washington Post accusing the minister of raping her over two decades ago.

She wrote that MJ Akbar was the Editor-In-Chief at The Asian Age when she joined the newspaper as a "22-year-old star-struck journalist".

She said she was "mesmerized by his use of language and his turns of phrase" and took all the "verbal abuse" as part of the learning process.

Recounting the terror that she had gone through she wrote, "He applauded my effort and suddenly lunged to kiss me. I reeled. I emerged from the office, red-faced, confused, ashamed, destroyed."

The second incident took place a few months later, when during the launch of a magazine, "he called me to his room at the fancy Taj hotel (in Mumbai), again to see the layouts. When he again came close to me to kiss me, I fought him and pushed him away. He scratched my face as I ran away, tears streaming down."

These incidents of abuse and assertion of power continued when he "defiled me sexually, verbally, emotionally", she added.

Pallavi said that she had confided in her friends, who were also allegedly assaulted by the author-editor. "I was in shreds -- emotionally, physically, mentally."

Though Former minister MJ Akbar has claimed that these rape allegations against him are false and that the relationship between the two was consensual.

MJ Akbar told news agency ANI, "On Oct 29, The Washington Post forwarded to my lawyers a series of cryptic and non-specific questions, regarding incidents alleged to have taken place approximately 23 years ago. These allegations were false and were consequently denied."

Akbar further added, "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 best note."

Akbar's wife Mallika also came in support of her husband and said the "relationship caused unhappiness and discord in our home."

According to the media reports she accused Gogoi of flaunting the relationship with him, which caused anguish and hurt to the family.

She 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 released a statement:

Over 20 former colleagues of MJ Akbar have come out with their versions of abuse by a powerful newsman. He sued one of them for defamation.