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Defamation case against Priya Ramani: MJ Akbar denies allegations of sexual exploitation, court to hear witnesses on July 15

On April 10, Priya Ramani had pleaded not guilty after MJ Akbar had filed a defamation case against her. The case was filed after Ramani had accused him of sexual harassment in the wake of the #Metoo movement which had gathered considerable attention last year.

Former Union Minister MJ Akbar has appeared before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal for his cross-examination in his defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani. This is his third day appearing for the cross-examination.

Responding to cross-examination by Priya Ramani’s lawyer Rebecca John, MJ Akbar reportedly denied all allegations of sexual misconduct made by his former interns. He was enquired about the claims made by two former interns of Asian Age, Majile De Puy Kamp and Ruth David.

As per a report in Bar and Bench, Akbar had said that he read about the allegations made by another intern, Prerna Singh Bindra, but was unaware of the tweets that she had posted. He had also denied her allegations.

He said that he was aware of the allegations made by other women but he hasn’t complained against any other person nor any other publication. “I reserve my right to take legal action against any other person or entity in future”, said Akbar. Akbar had only filed a complaint against Priya Ramani after having issued a statement dismissing all allegations made against him.

Talking about the allegations made by Pallavi Gogoi, Akbar said that he and his wife have already issued a statement to ANI on that matter. He had denied all allegations. He also added that his response to ANI was not based on any legal advice to preempt any action.

Akbar said that his witnesses had expressed their shock while discussing the allegations that were made. He also said that they weren’t tutored and were not examined just to fulfil the legal requirements.

The court concluded the cross-examination of MJ Akbar and that case has been adjourned. His witnesses would be cross-examined on July 15 and 17.

MJ Akbar who was the former Union Minister of State for External Affairs was forced to resign owing to the public pressure that arose after several women who had worked with had levelled allegations of workplace sexual harassment. After the complaint was filed, twenty journalists have pledged to testify against him in court.

On April 10, Priya Ramani had pleaded not guilty after MJ Akbar had filed a defamation case against her. The case was filed after Ramani had accused him of sexual harassment in the wake of the #Metoo movement which had gathered considerable attention last year.

On May 4, a Delhi court had recorded Akbar’s statement regarding the defamation case followed by his second day of cross-examination on May 20 where he denied having met Priya Ramani in the hotel room.

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