Former union minister MJ Akbar, who has been accused by nearly a dozen women as a sexual predator during his journalism career, countered the rape allegation levelled by former Asian Age journalist Pallavi Gogoi on Thursday. Gogoi came out to narrate her ordeal she went through nearly two decades ago.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, editor-turned-politician MJ 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," Akbar added.
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.
I don't know Pallavi's reasons for telling this lie, but a lie it is: #MJAkbar's wife Mallika Akbar to ANI on journalist Pallavi Gogoi's rape allegations in the Washington Post against her husband pic.twitter.com/SFws1TwWhx— ANI (@ANI) November 2, 2018
Pallavi Gogoi, a US-based editor of Washington Post has accused Akbar of raping her in India 23 years ago, saying the "brilliant journalist" used his position as the editor-in-chief of a newspaper to prey on her.
Last month, Akbar was in headlines and stepped down from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Union Council of Ministers after multiple women came out with their accounts of alleged sexual harassment amid the raging #MeToo campaign in India.