Actor Kangana Ranaut on Monday filed a counter complaint in response to a defamation case brought against her by lyricist Javed Akhtar, Bar and Bench reported. The actor accused Akhtar of extortion and criminal intimidation.
Ranaut also filed a plea asking for the case to be transferred to another court because she had lost faith in the magistrate hearing the matter. The actor submitted that she had lost faith in Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate RR Khan who was hearing the matter.
In November, Akhtar had filed the defamation case against Ranaut for the remarks she made about him during a TV interview while discussing actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Ranaut had reportedly told Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami that Akhtar was part of a “suicide gang” and that “he can get away with pretty much anything in Mumbai”.
During the last hearing on September 14, the magistrate court had said it would issue a warrant against Ranaut if she does not appear in person for Monday’s proceedings.
On Monday, Ranaut appeared for the hearing but the proceedings could not be held as she filed the transfer petition. This was the first time she appeared for a hearing in the case since she was summoned by the court in February, according to PTI.
Advocate Rizwan Siddique submitted that Ranaut had lost faith in the court after its warning.
“Why is she required in a bailable and compoundable and non-cognisable offence?” Siddique argued, according to Live Law. “But this court has said on multiple occasions that a warrant will be issued against her, so she is not comfortable with this court.”
Siddique said that he had filed the transfer plea before the chief metropolitan magistrate, who will hear the petition on October 1.
In her counter complaint against Akhtar, Ranaut has alleged that during her feud with actor Hrithik Roshan, Akhtar called her and her sister Rangoli Chandel to his home with “malafide intention and ulterior motive”, Live Law reported.
Ranaut and Roshan reportedly broke off their relationship in 2016. The break-up led to a public spat between the two actors.
Ranaut also alleged that Akhtar “criminally intimidated” her and asked her to apologise to Roshan. The complaint includes Sections 383, 384 (extortion), 387 (putting person in fear of death or of grievous hurt in order to commit extortion), 503 and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
After hearing Siddique’s submissions, the magistrate court adjourned the matter till November 15 even as Akhtar’s lawyers argued that the transfer plea and counter complaint were “bizarre” techniques to delay the proceedings.
Akhtar has accused Ranaut of causing “irreparable damage” to his reputation through her statements on Republic TV.
“Each and every allegation and imputation made in the said interview is false, defamatory, malicious, and has been made with reckless disregard to the truth,” he had said in his complaint.
In December, the Andheri metropolitan magistrate’s court had directed the police to investigate Akhtar’s complaint against Ranaut.
On March 1, the magistrate’s court issued a bailable warrant against Ranaut after she failed to appear before it in person. However, it granted her bail in the case later that month.
The actor subsequently filed a plea before the Bombay High Court seeking to quash all the proceedings arising out of Akhtar’s complaint, including the defamation suit and subsequent summons.
On September 9, the Bombay High Court dismissed her petition to quash the defamation proceedings initiated against her by Akhtar.