Hours after a Delhi court summoned journalist Priya Ramani to appear before it in connection with a defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar, she responded with a chirpy tweet and a smiling emoticon. "Time to tell our side of the story," Ms Ramani said.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal issued the direction on a petition filed by Mr Akbar, a journalist-turned-politician who resigned from the Union cabinet on October 17 after his name cropped up on social media as part of the #MeToo campaign in India. His legal team, comprising senior advocate Geeta Luthra and lawyer Sandeep Kapur, told the court that Ms Ramani had damaged Akbar's reputation.
Ms Ramani was the first in a long list of women journalists to accuse the former Minister of State for External Affairs and journalist-turned-politician of sexual harassment. The statements of seven witnesses, including that of Akbar, have been recorded.
The Rajya Sabha member has denied all charges against him as "false, wild and baseless".
The Editors Guild of India had earlier suspended journalist-turned-politician MJ Akbar from membership until the defamation case he had filed against Ms Ramani came to its logical conclusion. "A majority of our executive committee members suggested that the membership of Mr Akbar be suspended," a statement issued by the media body read.
Among those who accused Mr Akbar of sexual harassment is a US-based journalist who disclosed being assaulted at a Jaipur hotel over 23 years ago, followed by instances of "sexual, verbal and emotional" defilement. When the former Union Minister claimed that their affair was consensual, she said it cannot be so for a relationship "based on coercion and abuse of power".