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Priya Ramani's tweets are 'defamatory': MJ Akbar tells Delhi court

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Srishty Choudhury | Updated on: 31 Oct 2018, 02:08:15 PM
#MeToo: Delhi court to record former minister MJ Akbar, witnesses' statements today

New Delhi:

Former Union minister MJ Akbar, who filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani for accusing him of sexual misconduct two decades ago, will record his statement in the Patiala House Court on Wednesday.

On October 19, senior advocate Geeta Luthra, representing the former minister of state for external affairs, referred to the alleged controversial tweets of Ramani before additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal. Akbar resigned as Union minister on October 18. Luthra had said that the allegations made by Ramani had caused “irreparable loss” to Akbar’s reputation built over 40 years and requested the court to take cognisance of Akbar’s defamation case.

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Ramani had accused the editor-turned-politician of sexual misconduct as the #MeToo campaign took India by storm. After Ramani named him, more women posted stories against Akbar. Around 19 women journalists had come out in her support on Tuesday evening, saying she was not alone and that they would testify in court against Akbar.

“Since I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levelled against me...” Akbar said in a statement on resigning as Union minister on Wednesday.

Senior advocate Geeta Luthra, representing Akbar, refers to tweets of Priya Ramani before Delhi court. Akbar has resigned due to these allegations and they show the damage caused to his reputation, says his lawyer. Ramani’s allegations caused irreparable loss to Akbar’s reputation built over 40 years, says Geeta Luthra. Luthra refers to Akbar’s reputation as a journalist and asks the court to take cognisance of his complaint. Delhi court takes cognisance of Akbar’s defamation case and fixes it for recording his statement on October 31

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Reacting to Akbar’s resignation, Ramani had said, “As women, we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation. I look forward to the day when I also get justice in court.”

There was an immediate damage because of the scurrilous nature of the concocted & false allegations. I was attacked about the alleged & fabricated non-events. I chose to seek justice in my personal capacity without the appurtenance of the office and that's why I resigned:MJ Akbar

Opening sentence of her tweet explained one anomaly. When article was 1st published in Vogue,it didn't include my name.When she was asked about it,she said it was because “I had done nothing”. Clearly she was advised by vogue that including my name would invite liability:MJ Akbar

The defamatory/offending portion in particular apart from the rest of the article is when she (journalist Priya Ramani) referred to me a “talented predator” and an expert on “so-and-so”: MJ Akbar in Delhi's Patiala House Court.

I've filed criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani for a series of tweets that she published. First one came to my notice on my return from my official tour. The tweet had a link to an article in a magazine called vogue: MJ Akbar in Delhi's Patiala House Court. 

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First Published : 31 Oct 2018, 10:28:46 AM