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In the wake of the sexual harassment allegations levelled against him, Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar has filed a defamation case against one of his accusers, journalist Priya Ramani.
Akbar has approached the Patiala House Court in Delhi under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, terming the allegations levelled against as “false, frivolous, unjustifiable and scandalous”.
As per the complaint, Akbar points out that the incidents referred to by Ramani occurred 20 years ago, and that,
“…the conduct of the Accused person, of not taking any action before any authority, qua the alleged incident against the Complainant also clearly belies the sanctity of the article and allegations made by the Accused person, which evidently goes on to prove that the said defamatory articles are only a figment of her imagination and are only intended to malign the reputation of the Complainant.”
The complaint goes on to list the instances where Ramani’s allegations were made public through social media and digital media.
Akbar is insistent in the complaint that the accusations against him form part of an agenda, and that they have damaged his goodwill and reputation.
“…the Accused has made and published highly damaging imputations against the Complainant herein, intending to harm and knowing that such imputation will harm, the reputation of the Complainant, resultantly having committed the offence of ‘defamation’ as defined under Section 499 IPC and made punishable under Section 500 IPC.”
Therefore, it has been prayed that Ramani be charged with defamation under Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC.
The complaint has been filed through Senior Partner of Karanjawala & Co, Sandeep Kapur.
A number of women have levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against MJ Akbar, who has been the Editor of various publications including The Telegraph and The Asian Age. Apart from Ramani, the other woman journalists to recount instances of Akbar’s misconduct include Ghazala Wahab, Suparna Sharma, and Harinder Baweja.
Akbar has since denied all the allegations on his return from an official tour of Africa, calling them “false and fabricated, spiced up by innuendo and malice”.
Read the complaint:
Image taken from here.