A Delhi court on Monday granted bail to journalist Priya Ramani in the criminal defamation case filed against her by former Union minister MJ Akbar.
Ramani was accused by Akbar for criminal defamation after she levelled allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against the journalist-turned-politician.
“The next date when they will frame the charges against me is April 10. After that it will be my turn to tell my story. The truth is my defence,” Ramani said after emerging from the court room.
Ramani’s lawyer, senior advocate Rebecca John, argued in the court that defamation is a bailable offence.
Following Ramani’s accusation, other women, too, levelled similar charges against Akbar during the #MeToo movement in India. The uproar forced Akbar to step down as Minister of State for External Affairs on 17 October 2018.
All the accusations against Akbar had incidents from the time when he was a journalist.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal had on 29 January sought her personal appearance in connection to the defamation complaint.
Akbar maintained that the allegations against him are false and imaginary.
Ramani has also moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance in the case.
Akbar’s lawyers have said that they will oppose Ramani’s request for exemption from appearance in court. They told the court that Ramani’s “false, wild and baseless allegations” damaged Akbar’s reputation.
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.
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.