Months after stepping down as a Union minister over charges of sexual harassment, MJ Akbar featured on the cover of an official booklet of the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
The booklets were handed out to the attendees and delegates at the three-day event, organised by the Centre in Varanasi, which began on Monday.
India Today reported that the former Minister of State for External Affairs could also be spotted on the insides of the photobook, when he had been a part of official meetings of the ministry.
On the cover of the publication, Akbar's cut-out image was placed alongside that of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Moreover, the former journalist also found his way on the homepage of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas's official website.
The booklet sparked a controversy on Monday as several journalists sought to know how he made the cut. However, there was no immediate clarification from the government on the issue.
Hmm. So MJ Akbar returns to take pride of place - with PM and EAM @SushmaSwaraj in photo book given to all attendees at Pravasi Bharat Divas. Is #MeToo forgiven and forgotten by BJP? Not how the women in BJP and larger Sangh I've spoken to feel. So how do organisers explain this pic.twitter.com/K2se0CdhGQ
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) January 21, 2019
#TeamMEA with #MJAkbar???
The book in the delegation kit has @mjakbar on the cover!
Resigning after #MeToo... How does he still make the cut??? ♀️#PravasiBharatiyaDivas2019#PBD2019@SushmaSwaraj @Gen_VKSingh @CMOfficeUP pic.twitter.com/MHSOm3Bhwt
— Geeta Mohan گیتا موہن गीता मोहन (@Geeta_Mohan) January 21, 2019
#विदेश_मंत्रालय की बड़ी लापरवाही। #MeeToo प्रकरण में फंसे @mjakbar विदेश राज्य मंत्री के तौर पर इस्तीफा दे चुके हैं, लेकिन #वाराणासी में शुरु हुये प्रवासी भारतीय सम्मेलन में जो बुकलैट बांटी गईहै, उसमें प्रधानमंत्री मोदी और विदेशमंत्री सुषमा स्वराज के साथ अकबर भी नजर आ रहे हैं pic.twitter.com/YW6yPjNJDN — Sumit Awasthi (@awasthis) January 21, 2019
Akbar had resigned in October 2018 as the junior foreign minister following strong criticism over multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him.
When the #MeToo campaign raged in India, at least 20 women accused Akbar of sexually harassing them during his days as a journalist.
The 67-year-old faced flak over the allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women, with Opposition parties mounting attack on the government and demanding is ouster.
He strongly denied the allegations and instead filed a defamation case against Priya Ramani, one of the first women who publicly accused Akbar of sexual misconduct.
With inputs from ANI
Updated Date: Jan 21, 2019 14:43:51 IST