Union minister Uma Bharti on Friday reacted to the allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour levelled against Union minister MJ Akbar and said that the "matter is of the times when he was not a part of the Central government".
She further said that the matter is between Akbar and the women, and the government can say nothing on this.
The junior minister for external affairs has been accused by several former female colleagues of sexual harassment when he served as editor at various media organisations.
The matter is of the times when he was not a part of the Central Government. So, it is a matter between MJ Akbar & the women. Government can say nothing on this: Union Minister Uma Bharti on #MJAkbar pic.twitter.com/QYj2ZvDcSz
— ANI (@ANI) October 12, 2018
While BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad refused to answer questions related to the journalist-turned-politician, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai on Thursday that it was for Akbar to respond to the charges even as she favoured justice for the "ladies who are speaking out".
Akbar, who is on a trip abroad and is scheduled to return on Sunday, has not spoken as yet on the charges against him.
A BJP leader said the party expects Akbar to offer an explanation to the party's top brass on the allegations against him before it takes a call on his future.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on Friday said it was for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take a call on Akbar's fate. "Since the prime minister has appointed him, it is the prime minister's call. I won't make a public statement on this. It is his (Modi's) call," Swamy said.
He added that the allegations being levelled against Akbar date back to a time when he was an editor and before he became a minister. "Whether to make him pay for it with his ministership, only the prime minister can decide. He is in charge of all the ministers, and he has to fix accountability," Swamy said
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Oct 12, 2018 19:07 PM