Court reserves order on summoning scribe as accused

Reuters file photo

A Delhi court on Tuesday reserved for January 29 its order on whether to summon journalist Priya Ramani as an accused in a defamation case filed by former Union minister M J Akbar after she leveled allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal reserved the order after listening to arguments from Akbar's lawyer, who said a prima facie case was made out against Ramani.

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 when he was in Nigeria as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India.

Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago, which was denied by him.

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.

Expressing her readiness to fight the defamation allegations, Ramani had said, "Rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment."

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Court reserves order on summoning scribe as accused

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