Union minister MJ Akbar on Sunday issued a statement refuting all allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against him by multiple women. The Minister of State for External Affairs also threatened taking legal action against those who have accused him of harassment.
In a statement issued hours after he returned from a trip to Africa, Akbar said, "Allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated. These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation.”
#MeToo: Casting director Mukesh Chhabra accused of sexual harassment, Anurag Kashyap cuts ties with him
Terming the allegations as ‘wild and baseless’, the minister further said the claims would be looked into by his lawyers.
The Union minister further questioned as to why this storm has risen a few months before a general elections.
Over the past few days, several women have come out accusing Akbar of sexual harassment.
The allegations date back when he was a journalist.
Akbar's name cropped up on social media earlier this week, as a part of #MeToo movement, which has exposed incidents of sexual misconduct by influential men in different walks of life.
Meanwhile, the Congress party has demanded Akbar's ouster.
A group of journalists on Saturday had held protests and demanded the removal of Akbar from the union council of ministers.
They also sought immediate action against those facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
Here is MJ Akbar's detailed statement on sexual harassment allegations
The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice. I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour abroad.
Accusation without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections. Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action.
Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge.
These false, baseless and wild allegations have caused irreparable damage to my reputation and goodwill. Lies do not have legs, but they do contain poison, which can be whipped into a frenzy. This is deeply distressing.
I will be taking appropriate legal action. Priya Ramani began this campaign a year ago with a magazine article. She did not however name me as she knew it was an incorrect story.
When asked recently why she had not named me, she replied, in a Tweet: “Never named him because he didn't 'do' anything. If I didn't do anything, where and what is the story? There's no story. But a sea of innuendo, speculation and abusive diatribe has been built around something that never happened.
Some are total, unsubstantiated hearsay; others confirm, on the record, that I didn't do anything.
Shutapa Paul states, “The man never laid a hand on me.”
Shuma Raha says, “I must clarify, however, that he didn't actually ‘do’ anything”.
One woman, Anju Bharti, went to the absurd extent of claiming I was partying in a swimming pool. I do not know how to swim.
Another accusation was made repeatedly by Ms Ghazala Wahab, in an effort to damage my reputation. She claimed that she had been molested in office, 21 years ago. This is 16 years before I entered public life, and when I was in media. The only office where I worked with Ghazala Wahab was that of The Asian Age. A part of the editorial team then worked out of a small hall. At the time concerned, I had a very tiny cubicle, patched together by plywood and glass. Others had tables and chairs two feet away. It is utterly bizarre to believe that anything could have happened in that tiny space, and, moreover, that no one else in the vicinity would come to know, in the midst of a working day.
These allegations are false, motivated and baseless.
Pertinent to remember Ms Ramani and Ms Wahab kept working with me even after these alleged incidents; clearly establishes they had no apprehension and discomfort.
Reason why they remained silent for decades is very apparent, as Ms Ramani has herself stated, I never did anything.