Former union minister M J Akbar on Wednesday told a Delhi court that his reputation suffered immediate damage after scurrilous charges were made by journalist Priya Ramani as a part of #MeToo campaign.
"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 in his statement before metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal.
Akbar 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.
Faced with a barrage of sexual harassment charges from over two dozen women, Akbar had resigned as Union Minister of State for External Affairs, earlier this month.
"I chose in that environment to seek justice in my personal capacity without the Appurtenance of Office. This is why I offered my resignation 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," he said.
The court completed recording his statement and fixed November 12 as the date for witnesses to make their deposition.
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 fields. He claimed she caused “irreparable loss, tremendous distress and great humiliation to him and his reputation” for “fulfillment of an agenda”.
Akbar sought actions, including 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 a maximum prison term of two years, or fine or both, if found guilty.