* Minister denies allegations of sexual impropriety
* Critics have called on Akbar to resign
* #MeToo movement having growing impact in India
Indian minister M.J. Akbar described multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him as "wild and baseless" on Sunday and added he plans to take legal action against the women who have made the accusations.
The comments by Akbar, 67, follow widespread calls on social media for his resignation from his post as the minister of state for external affairs in the Indian government, after at least 10 women came forward to accuse him of harassment in recent days.
"The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice," said Akbar in a one-page statement given to Reuters partner ANI in India.
The veteran editor, who founded several publications, has been accused of a range of inappropriate behaviour by female journalists who previously worked as his subordinates.
Many journalists have called for Akbar to be sacked and have threatened to boycott events he is attending until he resigns.
The government has remained silent on the issue for days, while Akbar was attending a conference in Nigeria. He returned to New Delhi on Sunday morning to find a crowd of reporters waiting outside his residence.
Akbar said he plans to fight the allegations and questioned if they were politically motivated.
"Why has this storm risen a few months before a general election? Is there an agenda? You be the judge," he said.
Harinder Baweja, one of the women who has accused Akbar, criticised his response.
"All the women who tried to deal with the trauma for two to three decades and were now encouraged to share their pain, had the general election in mind. How absurd," said Baweja, a senior journalist with the daily Hindustan Times, on Twitter on Sunday.
#MeToo in indiaAkbar is one of the highest profile figures so far to face accusations in India's burgeoning #MeToo movement.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Gandhi murder convict released after 30 years
Building fire kills 27 in New Delhi
Violence erupts at Kashmir protest over man’s killing
Grandchild or $650,000: Indian couple sues son
Heatwave-hit India says no plans to curb wheat exports
India mulls wheat export curbs in latest food supply squeeze
Extreme heat kills 25 in India’s Maharashtra state
India sets end-June coal import targets
Delhi driver grows garden on autorickshaw roof to beat the heat