'You Opened Door in Your Underwear, Forcibly Kissed Me Twice': Another Woman Journalist Accuses MJ Akbar
Asking the minister to "please stop lying" and “get some help”, Tushita Patel alleged there were more women who were destroyed with MJ Akbar's “lust and power trip” and they, too, would come out.
File photo of MJ Akbar. (PTI)
New Delhi: Junior external affairs minister MJ Akbar was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by another woman journalist on Monday, taking the total number of his accusers to 12.
Tushita Patel, who worked with Akbar for the Deccan Chronicle, narrated three separate incidents when the minister allegedly harassed her and forcibly kissed her after calling her on the pretext of discussing work.
In an open letter published in news website Scroll, Patel wrote that in 1992, Akbar called her at her home incessantly, asking her to meet him at his hotel in Kolkata while she was working with Telegraph and he had come to the city.
She said that she was only 22 years old at the time and relented to his advances, but she received a shock when he opened the door “dressed only in underwear”.
“I stood at the door, stricken, scared and awkward… Does greeting a 22-year-old in a state of undress pass your test of morality? Is that not “doing” something?” she wrote in her letter.
A year later, Patel said she joined Deccan Chronicle and Akbar was the editor-in-chief of the paper. She alleged that he summoned her to his hotel on the pretext of discussing her pages, but once she was inside he grabbed and kissed her hard.
The next day, she further alleged, she tried to avoid Akbar but he this time summoned her to the conference room, where he again grabbed and kissed her.
“Defeated, humiliated, blinded by hurt and tears, I stayed in that room till I stopped crying. I waited till you had left the building, went to the bathroom, washed my face and carried on to finish my page,” she wrote for Scroll.
Akbar, who has been facing calls for resignation since being engulfed in the #MeToo storm, has denied the charges levelled against him by the 11 women before Patel. Calling it a political conspiracy ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year, he has vowed to fight the allegations in court.
He had filed a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, who was the first to accuse Akbar of sexual harassment on social media. She has vowed to fight back and called the case just an intimidation tactic.
Patel, too, said she would not back down in the face of “legal intimidation”. “We are not confused, conflicted or vulnerable any more. Our time to speak is now – when we don’t have to run to a police station to lodge a complaint before anyone would give us a hearing,” she wrote.
Asking the minister to "please stop lying" and “get some help”, she alleged there were more women who were destroyed with his “lust and power trip”. “They are enraged too, and they will come out.”
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