A Delhi court on Tuesday reserved its order on whether to summon journalist Priya Ramani as an accused in a defamation case filed by Union minister MJ Akbar against her last year, ANI reported. The Patiala House Court will pass its order on January 29.
The court is hearing a case of defamation that Akbar filed against Ramani in October. Akbar said he filed the complaint after Ramani published a series of tweets containing allegations of sexual harassment against him. Akbar told the court that the first tweet, which came to his notice after he returned from an official tour to Africa, had a link to an article published in the Vogue India magazine. “The article has a history,” said Akbar. “When it was first published in October 2017, it did not include my name.”
In the Vogue India article, Ramani had described her encounter with an acclaimed editor who she had met in a Mumbai hotel. The editor – who she later said was Akbar – did not meet her in the hotel lobby and insisted that she meet him in his room. There, he offered her a drink. Though she refused, he drank vodka himself. She alleged that he went on to sing old Hindi songs to her and at one point, asked her to sit close to him.
Though nearly 20 women have accused Akbar of sexual misconduct, the former minister called all the allegations “wild”, “baseless” and a “sea of innuendo, speculation and abusive diatribe”. Akbar also hinted that there was a political motivation for the sexual harassment allegations as they have come up months ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He had stepped down after the series of allegations were made.
The former minister has claimed that Ramani’s tweets on October 10 and October 13 had defamed him.