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MJ Akbar denies rape charges by US journalist, says it was ‘consensual’

In a separate statement, his wife Mallika Akbar also dismissed Gogoi’s accusations, made in an article Friday, as a ‘lie’.

SNS | New Delhi |

Former union minister MJ Akbar on Friday denied accusations of rape by US-based journalist Pallavi Gogoi, claiming he had a consensual relationship spanning several months with her but it ended “perhaps not on the best note”.

In a separate statement, his wife Mallika Akbar also dismissed Gogoi’s accusations, made in a Washington Post article Friday, as a “lie”

“Somewhere around 1994, Ms Pallavi Gogoi and I entered into a consensual relationship that spanned several months,” Akbar, who recently resigned as the junior foreign minister following a spate of #MeToo allegations, said in a statement.

“This relationship (with Gogoi) gave rise to talk and would later cause significant strife in my home life as well. This consensual relationship ended, perhaps not on the best note,” he said.

In her statement, Mallika said “more than twenty years ago, Pallavi Gogoi caused unhappiness and discord in our home. I learned of her and my husband’s involvement through her late night phone calls and her public display of affection in my presence.”

“I don’t know Pallavi’s reasons for telling this lie but a lie it is,” she added.

Two weeks after MJ Akbar resigned as Union minister of state for external affairs following multiple allegations of sexual harassment, a US-based journalist, in a column in the Washington Post, had accused the minister of rape.

Read | Former Asian Age editor, a US journalist now, accuses MJ Akbar of rape

In a strong write-up, former Asian Age journalist Pallavi Gogoi alleged that she had to “pay a very big price” for being editor of the op-ed page at the Asian Age at the age of 23.

She went on to recount the horror as she relayed how she was allegedly assaulted, verbally and physically, on various occasions.

“For a few months, he continued to defile me sexually, verbally, emotionally. He would burst into loud rages in the newsroom if he saw me talking to male colleagues my own age. It was frightening,” Gogoi wrote.

However, Akbar’s lawyer Sandeep Kapur told The Washington Post that the allegations were false.

As the #MeToo movement gained momentum, 20 women journalists who have worked with ‘The Asian Age’ newspaper, came out in support of their colleague Priya Ramani who had accused Akbar of sexual harassment.

(With PTI inputs)