A Delhi court on Tuesday issued summons to journalist Priya Ramani in a defamation case filed by journalist-turned-politician and former Union minister MJ Akbar last year. Ramani has been asked to appear before the court on February 25.
Akbar’s counsel Geeta Luthra and lawyer Sandeep Kapur told the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal that the journalist had damaged Akbar’s reputation built over the years.
As the #MeToo campaign caught on in India last year, more than 30 women journalists came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against the former minister of state for external affairs. Priya Ramani had in 2017 narrated her account in a published article. Though the write-up did not name Akbar then, she revealed last year that it was him. By then, more women had come out with their own stories of alleged harassment by the senior journalist.
The Delhi court has recorded statements of seven witnesses, including Akbar.
Akbar, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Rajya Sabha member, has denied all charges against him as “false, wild and baseless”. Ramani’s allegations of sexual misconduct against Akbar date back around 20 years.
Akbar, who resigned as Union minister on October 17 last year in the wake of the allegations, filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani later.
A group of 20 journalists have said they were willing to testify in court against Akbar.