‘Time to Tell Our Story’ Priya Ramani welcomes summon in defamation case filed by MJ Akbar

MJ Akbar, who resigned as Union minister last year, filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India.

New Delhi, Jan 29: A Delhi court on Tuesday summoned journalist Priya Ramani to appear on February 25 in a defamation case filed by former Union minister MJ Akbar after she levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal issued the direction on Akbar’s plea. Akbar, who resigned as Union minister on October 17 last year, filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India. Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago, which was denied by him.

Welcoming the court’s decision, Ramani tweeted, “Time to tell our side of the story.”

The court had on January 11 recorded the statements of three more witnesses in support of the case filed by Akbar.

The three witnesses — Tapan Chaki, Manjar Ali and Rachna Grover — who were associated with Akbar deposed before the court, saying they were extremely “distressed and dismayed” as grave damage has been caused to his reputation due to the allegations.

It had earlier recorded the statements of Akbar and Joyeeta Basu, the editor of Sunday Guardian, in the matter.

Akbar had told the court in his statement that an “immediate damage” has been caused to him due to the “scurrilous”, concocted and false allegations of sexual misconduct.

Multiple women have come out with accounts of alleged sexual harassment by him while he was working as a journalist.

He had termed the allegations “false, fabricated and deeply distressing” and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.

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