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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Priya Ramani targeted me… unlike her, I believe in due process, Akbar tells court

Akbar has sued Ramani for defamation over allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. With several other women making similar allegations, Akbar resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs in October 2018.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: January 8, 2021 8:21:54 am
Akbar has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment.

Trying to counter journalist Priya Ramani’s argument that she was targeted by former Union minister M J Akbar who filed a criminal defamation complaint against her, Akbar’s lawyers told a Delhi court that it was Ramani who attacked his reputation after her tweet triggered sexual harassment charges against him.

Akbar has sued Ramani for defamation over allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. With several other women making similar allegations, 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. Her rebuttal could not be completed and will be heard on December 12.

Luthra said, “The common thread of the witnesses of the complainant (Akbar) is the fact that the complainant has a reputation which was unblemished till the accused made her averments.”

“There was no doubt cast on the fact that I had an impeccable reputation. The fact that I was a member of Rajya Sabha was not questioned or that I joined the Ministry of External Affairs was not questioned. Later in arguments to try and raise a doubt with regards to Mr Akbar having or not having a reputation is neither here nor there,” she told the court.

Luthra told the court that Ramani’s “dissemination of false defamatory materials proves the fact that she was the person who started this…the counsel for the accused had tried to show that I had targeted her whereas the fact is that she had targeted me.”

“It was Ramani’s tweet that triggered sexual harassment charges against Akbar…because she is the one who attacked me and attacked my reputation, a complaint was filed against her. I am within my rights to do so. Unlike her and other people I believe in due process. There is sanctity of law. It is on her to prove the misconceived allegations for which she goes to a public platform and does not take discourse to due process,” Luthra told the court.

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