The Hindu – #MeToo: M J Akbar threatens to take legal action against journalists who accused him of harassment

Special Correspondent

New Delhi – India, 14 October 2018. Akbar attributed the allegations to motives other than the #Metoo movement’s aims to out sexual predators.

Union minister M J Akbar on Sunday threatened to take legal action against several women journalists who had accused him of sexual harassment at two newspapers where he had been editor.

There was no suggestion in Mr Akbar’s statement that he would resign from the Union Council of Ministers.

In a detailed statement to ANI, Mr Akbar, who returned this morning from Africa where he had been leading an Indian delegation on various events, said that “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”.

Mr. Akbar attributed the allegations to motives other than the #Metoo movement’s aims of outing sexual predators. “Why has this storm risen a few months before the 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,” he said.

“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,” he added. Referring to journalist Priya Ramani, who had first spoken about Mr. Akbar’s alleged behaviour with female colleagues, he said, “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 is 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,” he added.

Mr Akbar’s statement seems to suggest that calls for his resignation were not going to be entertained by the Union government. He is scheduled to meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj later in the evening.