ALLEGATIONS AGAINST AKBAR NEED TO BE VERIFIED: SHAH
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah has said that he was not in a position to comment on M.J. Akbar, who is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, as the claims against the Union Minister needed to be "looked into".
"It's difficult to comment on something that comes on a website. One can put anything on a website. So, this needs to be checked. If that is true or false, whether such an incident happened or not," Shah said in an interview to ETV on late Friday.
"It will have to be seen if it is the same person who is levelling allegations or someone else has put it up (on social media). All these things will have to be seen. And once we do it, we will certainly think over it (the action against Akbar)," he added.
More than half a dozen women journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour at various stages of his journalistic career, during which he launched and edited several newspapers.
Meanwhile, the BJP is likely to take a clear stand on the allegations of sexual harassment against him once he explains his position upon his scheduled return to India on Sunday.
Akbar, who has been on an official trip abroad, has so far not responded to the charges.
While the BJP has maintained a studied silence on the matter so far, party sources have said the charges against him are serious, and his continuance as a minister is no longer guaranteed. A final call will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they said.
There is also a view within the party that there is no legal case against him, and allegations pertain to a time long before he became a minster.