Court records statements of 3 witnesses in defamation complaint by M J Akbar

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Published: January 11, 2019 9:44:50 PM

They said they were extremely "distressed and dismayed" as grave damage has been caused to his reputation due to the allegations.

Expressing her readiness to fight the defamation allegations, Ramani had said, ?Rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment.?

A Delhi court Friday recorded the statements of three more witnesses in support of defamation case filed by journalist and politician M J Akbar against his former woman colleague Priya Ramani who had levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against him. The three witnesses — Tapan Chaki, Manjar Ali and Rachna Grover — who were associated with Akbar earlier deposed before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal. They said they were extremely “distressed and dismayed” as grave damage has been caused to his reputation due to the allegations.

The court has now fixed January 22 as next date of hearing when arguments on summoning would be heard. Akbar, who resigned as Union minister on October 17 last year, had filed a private criminal defamation complaint in the court against Ramani after his name cropped up on the social media when he was in Nigeria, as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India.

Ramani has accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago, which was denied by him. It had earlier recorded the statements of Akbar and Joyeeta Basu, the editor of Sunday Guardian, in the matter. Akbar had earlier told the court in his statement that an “immediate damage” has been caused to him due to the “scurrilous”, concocted and false allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against him. Multiple women have come out with accounts of alleged sexual harassment by him while he was working as a journalist.

He had termed the allegations “false, fabricated and deeply distressing” and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them. Expressing her readiness to fight the defamation allegations, Ramani had said, “Rather than engage with the serious allegations that many women have made against him, he seeks to silence them through intimidation and harassment.”

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