- Priya Ramani and many women had accused MJ Akbar of sexual misconduct
- MJ Akbar, who quit has junior foreign minister, sued her for defamation
- MJ Akbar's legal team called it "false, wild and baseless allegations"
Senior journalist Priya Ramani appeared before a Delhi court today in connection with a defamation case filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar over #MeToo allegations levelled against him.
Ms Ramani was among a number of women who accused Mr Akbar of sexual misconduct during his time as a media personality, forcing him to resign from the Union cabinet on October 17, 2018. The politician filed a defamation case against her, following which Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal summoned her.
The journalist responded with a chirpy tweet, sealed with a smiley. "Time to tell our side of the story," she said.
Mr Akbar's legal team, comprising senior advocate Geeta Luthra and lawyer Sandeep Kapur, has told the court that Ms Ramani damaged Akbar's reputation by levelling "false, wild and baseless allegations".
Among those who accused Mr Akbar of sexual harassment is a United States-based journalist who claims that she was assaulted at a Jaipur hotel over 23 years ago, followed by instances of "sexual, verbal and emotional" defilement. When the former Union Minister insisted that theirs was a consensual affair, she said that a relationship "based on coercion and abuse of power" cannot be couched in such terms.
The Editors Guild of India had earlier suspended Mr 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.
(With inputs from agencies)
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