January 19, 2021 1:43:45 am
“Harm is done by the man who instigates and ignites the first flame”, former Union minister M J Akbar — who has filed a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani over allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment — told a Delhi court through his lawyers on Monday.
With several other women besides Ramani making similar allegations against him, Akbar resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs in October 2018.
The submissions were made by senior advocate Geeta Luthra on behalf of Akbar before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey. However, her rebuttal could not be completed and will be heard on January 21. Luthra began her rebuttal by telling the court that the testimony of Niloufer, Ramani’s witness, “is hearsay and inadmissible”.
“She is not an eye witness. It is fabricated. She is an interested witness,” Luthra told the court.
While reading Ramani’s testimony, Luthra told the court, “It becomes curiouser and curiouser. She wrote an article without naming anyone because it was a piece of fiction…You said you didn’t name him because he didn’t do anything. The tweet doesn’t say that I’m saying all this because so many women are speaking up.”
Luthra reiterated that Ramani had some other motive and “there is no public interest. There is no good faith.” She told the court that the meaning of “the meaning of the word predator is a person who has propensity for violent sexual behaviour”.
“What she (Ramani) said does not mean predator. Many people in positions of hierarchy are more powerful but you can’t call them a predator. There are many words to describe a junior-senior relationship.”
“You cannot turn around and say that you are calling a person the media’s biggest predator…you are a journalist. You have to be responsible. You should know the meaning. Open the English dictionary and see the meaning. You can’t write as if without any sense of responsibility or accountability…It doesn’t matter what people say post facto. Harm is done by the man who instigates and ignites the first flame,” Luthra told the court.
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