Lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar on Tuesday filed a criminal defamation complaint against actor Kangana Ranaut over her comments about him in an interview with Republic TV in July, Bar and Bench reported. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the complaint was filed before the Metropolitan Magistrate at Andheri in Mumbai.

While speaking about the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Ranaut reportedly told Republic TV’s 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”.

The lyricist said Ranaut had unnecessarily dragged his name in a sensitive case, while falsely accusing him of being a part of the “suicide gang”. She also called him a “vulture” during the interview, he stated in his complaint.

Akhtar said Ranaut made false statements and fabricated an incident allegedly to tarnish his reputation. “Each and every allegation and imputation made in the said interview against the complainant is false, defamatory, malicious, and has been made with reckless disregard to the truth,” he said.

He added that Ranaut’s interview has been watched by millions of people on YouTube and said the actor benefited by making comments against him. It was also covered by other news organisations like The Times of India, ABP Live and led to increased viewership, Akhtar argued.

“This was part of a premeditated, wilful and insidious campaign motivated by her commercial and personal motives of gaining publicity,” Akhtar submitted.

The 75-year-old lyricist has urged the court to take cognisance of Ranaut’s statements as it has caused “irreparable damage”. The court is scheduled to hear the matter on December 3.

Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his Mumbai apartment on June 14, in what the police initially said appeared to be a case of suicide. Since his death, an acrimonious back-and-forth had started between Ranaut and the Shiv Sena led-Maharashtra government. She had criticised the handling of the Rajput’s death case by the Mumbai Police and said she didn’t feel safe in the city. The matter escalated when she compared Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The Centre provided Ranaut Y-Plus security cover amid the fracas.