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Court reserves order till Jan 29 on summoning Priya Ramani in defamation case by M.J. Akbar

Akbar filed a criminal defamation complaint against Ramani whose tweet led to several women journalists accusing him of sexually harassing them

By PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 22.01.19, 1:46 PM
  • Updated 22.01.19, 1:46 PM
  • a min read
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On Twitter Ramani had written about one of her reports on sexual harassment: "I began this piece with my MJ Akbar story. Never named him because he didn’t “do” anything. Lots of women have worse stories about this predator—maybe they’ll share." Telegraph 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.

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 minister on October 17 last year, filed a criminal defamation complaint against Ramani after his name cropped up on social media as several women journalists accused him of sexually harassing them when he was their boss. Akbar was in Nigeria as the #MeToo storm broke.

On Twitter Ramani had written about one of her reports on sexual harassment: "I began this piece with my MJ Akbar story. Never named him because he didn’t “do” anything. Lots of women have worse stories about this predator—maybe they’ll share."

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 because of the "scurrilous", concocted and false allegations of sexual misconduct.

He had termed all the allegations "false, fabricated and deeply distressing".

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."