MJ Akbar, Minister of State for Home Affairs, has refuted all the allegations of sexual harassment against him and calling the accusers liars. He said that he will take legal action against the women who have come out against him.
ANI quoted Akbar's statement as saying:
Akbar cried conspiracy, calling the allegations baseless:
Akbar also lashed out at each woman who had alleged harassment by him.
A year ago, when the #MeToo movement was taking place in the US, journalist Priya Ramani had written an article in Vogue titled 'To the Harvey Weinsteins of the world', where she recounted her first experience of workplace harassment.
Ramani hadn't named anyone in her account, but last week she said on Twitter that she was referring to Akbar as the editor who interviewed her in his hotel room.
Apart from Ramani, Ghazala Wahab had written an article on The Wire.in recounting her experience with him.
Akbar, speaking of Wahab, said, "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."
Huffpost India had reported fresh allegations against Akbar in which a US-based journalist, who interned at The Asian Age, said Akbar tried to forcibly kiss her in 2007. Huffpost India had reviewed emails and interview three other people to corroborate these allegations.
Akbar, now a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, was the founding editor of The Telegraph, launched The Asian Age and has worked in several other media organisations.
Last week, The Telegraphran a front-page story on the allegations against Akbar, its founding editor, with the headline #MeToo finger at Union minister.
Meanwhile, his colleagues like Smriti Irani and Maneka Gandhi have said that the women who have come out with their stories of harassment in the #MeToo movement must be believed.