Delhi court summons Ramani in Akbar's defamation case

Last Updated 29 January 2019, 12:54 IST

A Delhi court on Tuesday issued summons against journalist Priya Ramani on a defamation complaint filed by former Union Minister M J Akbar for levelling “scurrilous charges” against him as a part of MeToo campaign.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal sought her presence before the court on February 25 as an accused, after finding prima facie materials in the complaint.

Akbar had on October 31 recorded his statement in support of a defamation complaint filed by him against Ramani for making allegations of sexual harassment, during his stint as an editor of a newspaper 20 years ago.

"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 had said.

Faced with a barrage of sexual harassment charges from two dozen women, Akbar had resigned in October, last as Union Minister of State for External Affairs.

"My reputation has been tarnished in the eyes of general public and those who are near and dear and known to me," he had said.

He sought prosecution of Ramani, who was the first to make allegations against him as a part of MeToo movement, that struck film, media, cricket and other industries. He claimed she caused “irreparable loss, tremendous distress and great humiliation to him and his reputation” for “fulfilment of an agenda”.

Akbar sought actions, including the issuance of summons, against the woman-journalist for an offence under Section 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment of defamation) of the IPC.

The punishment for the offence is the maximum prison term of two years, or fine or both if found guilty.

(Published 29 January 2019, 10:14 IST)

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