Former Union Minister MJ Akbar on Saturday was cross-examined in the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s court in connection with a defamation case he filed against journalist Priya Ramani, Bar and Bench reported. This is the third round of cross-examination in the case and the court adjourned the hearing to July 15.
Akbar denied the allegations against him levelled by a former intern who had worked with him. He also refuted sexual misconduct charges made against him by three other former employees, who had worked at the media organisation where he was an editor.
The former Union minister further said that he reserved the right to take legal recourse against any other person or entity in the future. “I was aware that several women made allegations against me,” Bar and Bench quoted Akbar as saying. “I have not filed any complaint of defamation against any other person, international or Indian publication, web portal etc.”
He also said that his witnesses were not tutored or examined in order to fulfill legal requirements. Akbar also claimed that it would be wrong to suggest that journalist Priya Ramani’s allegations “were meant to raise awareness regarding the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace”.
On May 20, Akbar had denied meeting Ramani in a hotel room where she alleged he had sexually harassed her. He denied all information about the meeting that Ramani had narrated, such as that he sang songs to her or that he asked her personal questions.
Ramani had first made allegations about an incident of sexual harassment by an acclaimed newspaper editor in an article in Vogue India in 2017. She identified MJ Akbar as that editor in October 2018. Soon after this, around 20 more women accused Akbar of sexual misconduct over several years during his journalistic career. In February, Ramani was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 10,000.