Minister MJ Akbar denies #MeToo allegations, warns of legal action
New Delhi, Oct 14: Union minister M J Akbar, who is facing allegations of sexual harassment by a number of women journalists denied all accusations against him as false and fabricated.
"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," ANI quoted Akbar as saying in a statement.
"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," added Akbar.
Hinting a political vebdetta, he said "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," the minister added.
The Congress sharpened its attack on Union minister MJ Akbar following his return to India amid sexual harassment allegations levelled against him by multiple women, demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spell out his stand on the issue.
"The PM's silence is conspicuous. A PM who speaks on everything is silent on #MeToo. The silence raises questions on the dignity of the PM's office. The country has been waiting for days for PM Modi's to clear his stand on this," Congress leader Anand Sharma said at a press conference.
Akbar, a former journalist, returned from an official trip to Nigeria on Sunday morning and dodged a volley of questions from reporters at the Delhi airport and said he would issue a statement later.
Multiple women in the last few days have offered their accounts of alleged sexual harassment by Akbar when he was a journalist as the #MeToo movement swept social media, bringing to fore sordid tales of sexual harassment by influential men in different walks of lives.
There was an indication by the BJP that it is likely to take a clear stand on allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar once he explains his position upon his return.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party has maintained a studied silence on the matter so far, party sources have said the charges against him are serious, and his continuance as a minister is no longer guaranteed.
A final call will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.