Oct. 17 (UPI) -- An Indian foreign minister, M.J. Akbar, resigned Wednesday after at least a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment.
Akbar, 67, who served as union minister of state for external affairs, issued a statement to announce his departure that the Times of India obtained. Akbar sued journalist Priya Ramani, the first woman who accused him of sexual harassment, for criminal defamation, the Hindustan Times reported.
"Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity, Akbar wrote.
"I have, therefore, tendered my resignation from the office of Minister of State for External Affairs. I am deeply grateful to the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and to the External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country," the statement continued.
Ramani was the first to accuse Akbar of sexual harassment in a Twitter post on Oct. 8, dating back to when Akbar served as editor of The Asian Age, an Indian newspaper.
Since Ramani's post, other woman accused Akbar. Akbar has denied all the charges.
"That the scandalous allegations leveled against the complainant, by their very tone and tenor, are ex facie defamatory and have not only damaged the goodwill and reputation of the complainant, in his social circles and on the political stage, established years of toil and hard work, but have also affected the personal reputation of the complainant in the community, friends, family and colleagues, thereby causing him irreparable loss and tremendous distress," Akbar wrote in a complaint for the criminal defamation case against Ramani, which was obtained by the Indian Express.
A court in Delhi will hear Akbar's complaint against Ramani on Thursday.