The Patiala House Courts is likely to hear the defamation case filed by Union minister MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani on Tuesday. Akbar, who was accused of sexual harassment amid the raging #MeToo campaign against male predators, on Monday filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani.
There were reports that Karanjawala & Co, the law firm which is fighting Akbar's case, has fielded names of 97 lawyers. However, the firm said that only six appear on the Union minister's behalf. “Our firm has 100 lawyers. We usually have all the names printed in one 'vakalatnama' with only the ones who will appear in the case signing it. Our criminal team has six members and only those six will appear in this case. Only they have signed the 'vakalatnama',” a spokesperson of the firm told News18.
Ramani recently accused the minister of state for external affairs of sexual misconduct as the #MeToo campaign took India by storm.
Reacting to the accusations and allegations against him, Akbar had issued a statement on Sunday and said that he would take legal action against the accusers.
Taking Ramani to court, the former editor of a newspaper accused her of “wilfully, deliberately, intentionally and malaciously” defaming him and has sought her prosecution under the penal provision on defamation.
“Ms Priya Ramani began this campaign a year ago with a magazine article. She did not, however, name me as she knew it was an incorrect story. When asked recently why she had not named me, she replied, in a tweet: “Never named him because he didn’t ‘do’ anything.”
“If I didn’t do anything, where and what is the story? There is no story. This was admitted at the very inception. But a sea of innuendo, speculation and abusive diatribe has been built around something that never happened. Some are total, unsubstantiated hearsay; others confirm, on the record, that I didn’t do anything...,” Akbar had said in the statement he issued on Sunday.