A booklet featuring MJ Akbar, who was forced to resign as the Minister of State for External Affairs after allegations of sexual misconduct against him were reported by several women, was distributed among NRIs at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas at Varanasi.
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 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. The pictures of book’s distribution were posted on social media.
However, sources in the ministry said the booklet was released in May 2018 when Akbar was in the ministry. The booklet highlighted achievements of the Ministry of External Affairs in the last four years and all the ministers in the MEA featured in it.
“The booklet was published months before Akbar quit as a minister. An unnecessary controversy is being created which is very unfortunate. The booklet only mentions achievements of the ministry,” a government official said.
Journalist-turned-politician MJ Akbar was stepped down as the Minister of State of External Affairs in October last year following allegations of sexual misconduct by 20 women as part of the #MeToo campaign.