A Delhi court will today hear former Union minister MJ Akbar's criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani. Priya was the first woman journalist to speak out against Akbar on sexual harassment charges.
A Delhi court will today hear former Union minister MJ Akbar’s criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani. Priya was the first woman journalist to speak out against Akbar on sexual harassment charges. The former editor of a newspaper, Akbar, who was serving as Minister of State for External Affairs in the Narendra Modi-led government, has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. He stepped down from his post on Wednesday, but denied the allegations against him.
“I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity. I have, therefore, tendered my resignation from the office of MoS for external affairs. I am deeply grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country,” Akbar said in a statement.
Ramani termed Akbar’s resignation a ‘vindication’ and added that she is ready for the legal battle. “As women, we feel vindicated by MJ Akbar’s resignation. I look forward to the day when I will also get justice in court #metoo,” she tweeted. Akbar had sued Ramani stating that her alleged “defamatory articles” on him were a “figment of imagination” and “only” intended to “malign” his reputation.
The opposition parties welcomed the resignation. Congress called it the “victory of truth” and asked whether the prime minister will dare to speak up now. “Times is up Modi ji. The silence of PM Modi on #MeToo movement is deafening. The silence of Prime Minister Modi has deceived those crores of women voters who had placed their faith, reposed their trust in the BJP in 2014,” Congress leader Ragini Naik said.
Meanwhile, the Left parties said Akbar’s resignation was a victory for the #MeToo movement and the protests carried out by them against the journalist-turned-politician.
Akbar’s lawyer Sandeep Kapur had told PTI that the case will come up for hearing on Thursday before additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal. “Since we have already filed the defamation case, we will pursue it in the court,” he added.