#MeToo claims hit head of India's powerful cricket board

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators which oversees the BCCI has given Rahul Johri a week to respond to the allegations

New Delhi (AFP) - The chief executive of India's powerful cricket board has been given a week to explain allegations of sexual harassment against him, as the country's fledgling #MeToo movement gathers pace.

Rahul Johri, CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was named in an account shared by Indian author Harnidh Kaur on Twitter.

The unidentified woman accused Johri of assaulting her at his home, while he was working with a different organisation.

"The truth is, it was so sudden and so manipulated that I had no chance at even knowing what the hell this was," the woman said.

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, which oversees the BCCI, on Saturday asked Johri to explain.

Even though the allegations "do not pertain to his employment with BCCI," the committee said it had given him a week to "submit his explanation."

Johri, CEO of the world's richest cricket body, has yet not responded to a request for comment.

"There are certain media reports today, including in the social media, pertaining to Rahul Johri," the committee said in a statement.

"These reports disclose allegations of sexual harassment made against Mr Johri, by an unnamed persons through a Twitter handle. The allegations also related to his previous employment with a large media house," it added.

India's belated #MeToo movement has made headlines over the last few days with women sharing powerful accounts of alleged harassment by several powerful men including a minister, Bollywood filmmakers, news editors and comedians.

On Friday, the production of a Bollywood blockbuster was halted after the film's lead called for harassment claims against its director and co-star to be "stringently" investigated.

Star Akshay Kumar said he had requested that the making of "Housefull 4" be stopped following allegations against director Sajid Khan and actor Nana Patekar.

Accusations that Patekar behaved inappropriately on a film set 10 years ago sparked India's #MeToo movement, which has since engulfed Bollywood figures, a government minister and several comedians and top journalists.

Three women, an actor, an assistant director and a journalist took to Twitter on Thursday to accuse Khan of sexual harassment.

The actress said Khan had insisted that she strip during an audition while the journalist alleged the director had flashed his penis at her during an interview.

Filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane announced at the weekend they were severing ties with Bollywood director Vikas Bahl over a sexual assault allegation.

Bahl denies that he sexually assaulted a female employee of Phantom Films, the production house behind Netflix series "Sacred Games", in 2015 and has threatened to sue Kashyap and Motwane for defamation.

Several women, mostly journalists, have also accused India's junior foreign minister M.J. Akbar of sexual harassment in the last few days.

Akbar, who was a top news editor before entering politics, has not yet commented on the allegations or demands for his resignation.

©Agence France-Presse