On Thursday, a Delhi court agreed to hear out the criminal defamation complaint filed by former Union Minister MJ Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani. As the court agreed to hear his case, he has been asked to record his statement on October 31. Till then, the court has adjourned the case. His lawyers stated that owing to the allegations, he had to resign from his position. They said that the defamatory tweets by Priya Ramani, “were picked up by foreign media.”
The lawyers told the court that Ramani’s tweets and articles affected his reputation. The high number of likes and retweets depicted the wide reach of the story. The court agreed that the arguments hold merit and a defamation case can be heard. Judge, Samar Vishal asked MJ Akbar (who was absent) to appear in court on October 31.
His first detailed statement post returning to India from a foreign visit, stated, “Ms Priya Ramani began this campaign a year ago with a magazine article. She did not however name me as she knew it was an incorrect story. When asked recently why she had not named me, she replied, in a Tweet: "Never named him because he didn't 'do anything. If I didn't do anything, where and what is the story? There is no story. This was admitted at the very inception.”
Around 19 women journalists who worked with The Asian Age newspaper, lent their support to Ramani and have urged the court to hear their testimony against MJ Akbar. Several of them claimed that he had sexually harassed them, while others claimed to have witnessed it.