Patiala House Court to examine MJ Akbar’s statement on October 31 in defamation case

New Delhi | The Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Thursday ordered the examination of former MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar’s statement in the defamation case filed against journalist Priya Ramani on October 31.

Additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM) Samar Vishal who took cognizance of case under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code asked the Former minister to be present in the court on October 31 and record his statement. He said, “I have gone through the complaint and other documents annexed. I take cognizance of the offence under section 500 of the IPC.”

Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra who was appearing for MJ Akbar in the court stated, “Priya Ramani has tweeted defamatory tweets against the complainant. Her 2nd tweet was clearly defamatory and liked by 1200 people.” Luthra further added,” Articles in international & national media quoted these defamatory tweets. Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything.”

Claiming the allegations by Priya Ramani to be damaging his client reputations Geeta Luthra said, “Irreparable damage caused to Akbar’s reputation which he has built over 40 years.” Earlier MJ Akbar on October 16 filed a criminal defamation against Journalist Priya Ramani claimed that the sexual harassment allegations are a part of an agenda in the run up to the General Elections and have caused a loss to his damage and reputation.

Former Journalist MJ Akbar was accused of sexual harassment by various female journalists in the ongoing #MeToo campaign during his tenure as Editor of various newspapers. Journalist Priya Ramani had alleged that Akbar during his tenure as an Editor of a newspaper made her feel uncomfortable and harassed her in a hotel room.

After Ramani’s allegations various female journalists including Prerna Singh Bindra, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul, Anju Bharti, Suparna Sharma, Shuma Raha, Malini Bhupta, Kanika Gahlout, Kadambari M Wade, Majlie de Puy Kamp and Ruth David spoke against Akbar.

Earlier after returning from Nigeria, MJ Akbar termed the accusations false and baseless. Speaking to media agency ANI, the former Journalist said, “Accusations without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections.” He further added, “Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action.”

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