New Delhi: Hours after a US-based journalist accused MJ Akbar of raping her when he was the editor of Asian Age, the former union minister’s wife Mallika Akbar alleged that the scribe had caused “unhappiness and discord” in her home by her public display of affection. “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 told news agency ANI. Also Read - ‘Communal Unity, Harmony Bedrock of India's Strength,’ Pranab Mukherjee Says at Book Launch
Defending her husband against the rape allegations levelled against him by Pallavi Gogoi, Mallika Akbar said that all the charges are “lies”. “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, adding, “I don’t know Pallavi’s reasons for telling this lie, but a lie it is.” Also Read - Mahatma Gandhi Wanted to Live in Pakistan After Independence, Claims MJ Akbar’s New Book
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“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 prioritize his family,” she said. Mallika further said that neither Tushita Patel (who worked with Akbar at Deccan Chronicle and, in a long post, narrated the incidents when the former minister had allegedly harassed and forcibly kissed her) nor Pallavi Gogoi carried the haunted look of a sexual assault victim while partying at her house.
“Tushita Patel and Pallavi Gogoi were often at our home, happily drinking and dining with us. Neither carried the haunted look of victims of sexual assault. I don’t know Pallavi’s reasons for telling this lie but a lie it is,” MJ Akbar’s wife Mallika.
MJ Akbar also denied the charges, saying the relationship between the two was consensual. “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 a best note,” MJ Akbar said.
The #MeToo campaign claimed its first political scalp when M.J. Akbar quit as Minister of State for External Affairs ten days after several women came out with allegations of sexual harassment and molestation by him during his days as editor in the media.