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MJ Akbar Refutes Rape Allegations by US-based Journalist, Says 'Relationship Was Consensual'

Pallavi Gogoi, writing a first person account in The Washington Post, accused editor-turned-politician MJ Akbar of raping her over two decades ago. Ghosh is currently an editor at the National Public Radio (NPR).

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Updated:November 2, 2018, 11:18 PM IST
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MJ Akbar Refutes Rape Allegations by US-based Journalist, Says 'Relationship Was Consensual'
File photo of MJ Akbar. (PTI)
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New Delhi: Former minister MJ Akbar has said the US-based journalist's rape allegations against him are false and the relationship between the two was consensual. Supporting her husband, Akbar's wife said the "relationship caused unhappiness and discord in our home”.

Pallavi Gogoi, writing a first person account in The Washington Post, accused editor-turned-politician MJ Akbar of raping her over two decades ago. Gogoi is currently an editor at the National Public Radio (NPR).

"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," MJ Akbar said.

Writing in the paper, Gogoi says MJ Akbar "a brilliant journalist" was the Editor-in-Chief at The Asian Age and "used his position to prey on me". Gogoi writes she was a "22-year-old star-struck journalist" when she joined the newspaper.

In the Post article, Gogoi said: "Today, I am a US citizen. I am a wife and mother. I found my love for journalism again. I picked up my life, piece by piece... Today, I'm a leader at National Public Radio. I know that I do not have to succumb to assault to have a job and succeed.

"Over the years, I have not brought up Akbar in conversations. I've always felt that Akbar is above the law and justice doesn't apply to him. I felt he would never pay the price for what he had done to me".

Responding to the charges, Akbar said, "Somewhere around 1994, Ms. Pallavi Gogoi and I entered into 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."

He added that several people who worked with him knew about his relationship with her and at no stage did her behaviour give any one of them the impression that she was "working under, or in any way, under duress".

Akbar's wife accused Gogoi of flaunting the relationship with him, which caused anguish and hurt to the family.

"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," said Akbar's wife Mallika.

"I don't know Pallavi's reasons for telling this lie but a lie it is," she added.

Akbar quit as junior foreign minister last month after several women journalists accused him of inappropriate behaviour. He responded by suing journalist Priya Ramani, who spearheaded the movement against him, for criminal defamation in a Delhi court.
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