Several Bollywood personalities have defended filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a former employee of his production company.

“Rajkumar Hirani is too good a man to do something like this,” ANI quoted producer Boney Kapoor as saying on Monday. “I don’t believe this allegation. He can never do something like this.”

An unidentified woman in an email complaint claimed that Hirani had “sexually abused her on more than one occasion over a six-month period between March and September 2018”. The 56-year-old director has denied the allegation. In a statement, Hirani said he had expressed shock “when these allegations were brought to my notice about two months back”. He described the allegations as “a false, malicious and mischievous story”.

Actor Dia Mirza, who has worked with Hirani in Lage Raho Munnabhai and Sanju, said she was “deeply distressed” by the news, IANS reported. “As someone who has known and respects Raju sir for 15 years, I can only hope that a due official inquiry is conducted,” Mirza said. “He is one of the most decent human beings I have ever worked with and I think it would be grossly unjust on my part to speak on this as I do not know the details.”

Actor Sharman Joshi, who worked with Hirani in 3 Idiots, also extended his support to the director. “Raju sir is a man of immense integrity, character, honour, compassion and truthfulness, all the virtues one would imagine are non-existent in people today, someone I am absolutely inspired by and have learnt from and because of whom I believe I have gone onto being a better person,” he tweeted.

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta said the allegations against Hirani were disturbing. “I hope the truth prevails and due process is followed to ensure a quick and just resolution,” he added.

Writer-director Vinta Nanda, who has accused veteran actor Alok Nath of sexual assault, tweeted that the allegations were disturbing. “Who is it that women can trust?” she asked, referring to a statement by Hirani’s lawyer. “Can’t deal with these words anymore: ‘At the outset, our client states that the allegations made against him are false, mischievous, scandalous, motivated and defamatory’.”

Actor Emraan Hashmi said it would be wrong to comment on the matter as it was just an allegation. “Nothing has been proved as of yet,” he said. “The director has already dismissed the allegations.”