On Wednesday, October 31, MJ Akbar told a Delhi court that, in a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, he was attacked in his personal capacity and there was an immediate damage to him because of false allegations.
Akbar appeared in the court before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal and said in his statement, “Indeed there was an immediate damage because of the scurrilous nature of these concocted and false allegations. I was attacked in my personal capacity about alleged and fabricated non-events allegedly done two decades ago”.
He said, “I chose in that environment to seek justice in my personal capacity without the Appurtenance of Office. This is why I offered my registration as Minister of State, Govt of India. My reputation has been tarnished in the eyes of general public and those who are near and dear and known to me”.
Akbar was quoted by ANI as saying, “The Opening sentence of her tweet explained one anomaly. When the article was first published in Vogue, it didn’t include my name. When 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….There was an immediate damage because of the scurrilous nature of the concocted and false allegations. I was attacked about the alleged and fabricated non-events. I chose to seek justice in my personal capacity without the appurtenance of the office and that’s why I resigned”.
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. #MeToo pic.twitter.com/o4RTcAwc8A
— ANI (@ANI) October 31, 2018
Journalist Priya Ramani alleged MJ Akbar on social media in #MeToo movement for sexual harassment 20 years ago. At that time Akbar was in Nigeria on official visit. He returned to India on October 14 and filed a criminal defamation case against Ramani citing that allegations against him were false and fabricated. On October 17 he resigned from the post of Minister of States, Govt. of India.
Priya Ramani showed her readiness to fight the case, she said, “Rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment”.
Court will record the statements of witnesses named by MJ Akbar in his support during the next hearing of case on November 12.