Book with MJ Akbar’s photo distributed at Pravasi Bharatiya event, later withdrawn
A book that prominently featured on its cover former minister of state MJ Akbar, who quit last year after several women accused him of sexual harassment, was distributed among some delegates attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in Varanasi on Monday.
The book titled “Unprecedented Outreach Unparalleled Outcomes: India’s Diplomatic Journey 2014-2018” was part of a kit handed out to NRI delegates attending the government’s largest outreach programme for the overseas Indian community. The book’s distribution was dropped as images of the book were posted on social media.
The cover of the book, issued in May last year, features images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh and MJ Akbar. Under the caption “Team MEA”, the book’s first page has images of Swaraj, Singh and Akbar, who is referred to as minister of state for external affairs.
Akbar, who quit last October, has denied the charges levelled against him.
People familiar with developments said the book was released by the external affairs ministry many months before Akbar’s resignation. Officials present at the venue of the PBD declined to speak about the matter when it was raised by reporters.