Delhi Court Frames Defamation Charge Against Journalist Priya Ramani in Case Filed by MJ Akbar
Journalist Priya Ramani had received a bail by a Delhi court in February in the criminal defamation case filed by the BJP politician and former editor MJ Akbar.
File photo of MJ Akbar.
New Delhi: Journalist Priya Ramani, whose allegation of sexual misconduct against MJ Akbar paved the way for a flood of first-person accounts by women who said they had been harassed by him, now has defamation charge framed against her by a Delhi court and would now be tried in court.
The journalist had received a bail by a Delhi court in February in the criminal defamation case filed by the BJP politician and former editor.
Akbar was forced to resign as minister of state for external affairs last year as the allegations against him piled up, all dating back to his time as a newspaper editor.
The court has now fixed May 4 as the date for recording of evidence.
In a brief hearing that saw several journalists in attendance in solidarity with Ramani, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal framed defamation charges against the journalist.
Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. He has denied the accusations.
His name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India last year. Akbar, who resigned from the Union Council of Ministers on October 17, was in Nigeria when his name came up.
In the wake of Ramani’s tweet, in which she identified him as the anonymous editor who featured in a magazine article she had written the previous year, multiple women came forward with accounts of alleged sexual harassment by him when he edited the Asian Age newspaper.
The court had earlier summoned Ramani after noting that the allegations made against Akbar were “prima facie defamatory” and that he denied all the accusations made by her as “false and imaginary”.
In February, speaking to reporters after her court appearance, Ramani said the date for the next hearing had been set for April 10. “Now I will tell my side of the story,” she had said.
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