Updated: October 18, 2018 2:35:57 pm
A Delhi court Thursday took cognizance of the criminal defamation complaint filed by former union minister MJ Akbar against Priya Ramani, who has accused him of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago. Judge Samar Vishal said he has taken the cognizance of the offence under section 500 of the IPC.
Senior advocate Geeta Luthra, representing Akbar, refered to alleged controversial tweets of Ramani in her arguments before additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal.
Akbar had sued Ramani for defamation on Monday, seeking her prosecution under Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC for “maligning his reputation.”
The editor-turned-politician stepped down as a junior foreign minister on Wednesday following a flurry of allegations made against him by at least 15 women, who accused him of sexual misconduct during his stint as the editor of The Asian Age. Calling his resignation a ‘vindication,’ Ramani said she is ready for the legal battle.
Ramani, the first to name him in a Twitter post on October 8, had revealed that an article she had written last year about an editor inviting her to his hotel room for a job interview and asking her to sit on the bed with him, was Akbar. Following this, multiple accounts of sexual harassment allegations against him surfaced.
She was later served a defamation notice by Akbar who denied the charges, terming them “a figment of imagination” and dismissed the #metoo movement as a “viral fever.”
Twelve women journalists issued a statement Tuesday urging the court to also consider their testimonies, and be called as witnesses.
Akbar is the first minister in the Modi cabinet to resign over allegations. In a statement, he said he deems it “appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, in a personal capacity.”
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