Actor Kangana Ranaut on Monday appeared before the court of the metropolitan magistrate in suburban Andheri and pleaded not guilty in connection with a defamation complaint filed against her by Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar, though proceedings were held behind closed doors at the actor's request.
This is her third appearance before the court after Akhtar filed the complaint against her in November 2020.
The court proceedings unfolded behind closed doors as the magistrate directed everyone, including lawyers and media, to leave as Ranaut, who arrived at 4:45 pm, didn't want a "media trial".
Before the proceedings could begin, her lawyer requested the court to ask everyone to leave as his client didn't want a "media trial", though reporters present in the court attempted to speak to the magistrate R N Sheikh.
The proceedings began in the presence of the lawyers of both sides behind closed doors, with one of them later stating that the actor pleaded not guilty, which means trial can now begin in the case.
Ranaut also recorded her verification statement in the cross-complaint filed by her against the scriptwriter-lyricist. For recording her statement in the counter-complaint, the actor had secured an order for an in-camera proceeding for a particular date in April.
In his complaint, Akhtar (76) had accused Ranaut of making defamatory statements against him in a television interview, which he said had damaged his reputation.
Akhtar had claimed that Ranaut dragged his name during the TV interview while referring to a 'coterie' in Bollywood, following the alleged suicide by actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June 2020.
Ranaut had later filed a counter-complaint in the same court against Akhtar accusing him of extortion and criminal intimidation.
The actress, in her complaint against Akhtar, said that following her public dispute with a co-star, the lyricist had called her and her sister Rangoli Chandel to his house with "malafide intentions and ulterior motives and then criminally intimidated and threatened" her.
[With Inputs From PTI]