Wednesday, Oct 05, 2022

#MeToo: M J Akbar Appears Before Court To Record Statement In Defamation Case Against Priya Ramani

Akbar on October 15 filed a private criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani for her allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

(Left) Journalist Priya Ramani who accused M J Akbar of sexual misconduct during his time as editor. (Right) Former Union Minister M J Akbar, who has filed a criminal defamation suit against Priya Ramani for her allegation against him. File Photo

M J Akbar, former Union minister and editor, on Wednesday appeared before a Delhi court to record his statement in a criminal defamation case filed by him against journalist Priya Ramani.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement that raged across India earlier this month, where prominent people across industries were named on social media in cases of harassment, Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct.

Ramani in a tweet , identified Akbar as the editor she had written about in an article in Vogue in October, 2017.

Akbar resigned on October 17 in the face of mounting pressure following a spate of allegations of sexual harassment against him by several women journalists, who had worked with him during his time as an editor in the past decades.

However , before resigning,  Akbar on October 15 filed a private criminal defamation complaint against journalist Ramani for "wilfully, deliberately, intentionally and maliciously" defaming him and has sought her prosecution under the penal provision on defamation.

The court took cognisance of former Union minister's complaint Ramani and fixed the date for recording of his statement on October 31.

Akbar on Wednesday appeared before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal and the recording of the statement in the matter is underway.

Akbar's name cropped up on social media when he was in Nigeria, as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India. 

Hours after returning home from his official tour on October 14, Akbar rejected the allegations and termed them "false, fabricated and deeply distressing" and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.

He had cited his official tour as the reason for the delay in reacting to the s allegations made against him. "The allegations of misconduct made against me are false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice. I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour abroad," the junior foreign minister said in a statement.

The women who accused Akbar of sexual harassment included Ghazala Wahab, Shuma Raha, Anju Bharti and Shutapa Paul.

(with PTI inputs)